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The Man of Mark 


Church Tomorrow 



Editor Biblical Recorder 

Mutual Publishing Company 

Raleigh, N. C. 


Duke University 
HAY 7~ ?,. 



MOREHEAD CITY— 1890-1893 

WINSTON-SALEM— 1893-1894 

MONROE— 1894-1898 

NEW BERN— 1898-1903 

CHAPEL HILL— 1903-1904 




The initial chapter in the following pages embodies 
the substance of an address delivered at the Baptist 
Young People's Convention of North Carolina in 
session at Durham, April, 1910. The remaining 
chapters orginated in the author's pastoral labors 
and some of them have been repeated on various 
occasions during his later service as Sunday School 
secretary and as editor. All were revised and pub- 
lished editorially in the Biblical Recorder at intervals 
during the summer and autumn of 1911. 

These messages, while intended to be netful to all 
who may read them, are primarily designed as a 
spiritual appeal to intelligent Christian young people. 
Hence various phases of the developing life in 
Christ are here presented in more or less logical con- 
nection from the soul's emergence out of Philistia to 
the hastening of the golden age ahead. Beyond 
doubt, incomparable days are before us and it is of 
first importance that our young men and young wo- 
men get right with God and lay themselves with true 
devotion upon the altar of His service. And if in 
some slight degree these pages contribute to that 
holy end, the author will feel that his labor of love 
has not been in vain in the Lord. 

Raleigh, N. C, April, 1912. 














Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might— Ec- 
clesiastes 9 : 10 


The church will be here to-morrow. Cynics 
may sneer at it; foes may assail it; worldlings 
may corrupt it; false prophets may pronounce its 
doom; but it is as true of the church to-day and 
to-morrow as when Jesus declared among the 
spurs of Hermon "the gates of hell shall not pre-i 
vail against it." And not only will there be a 
church of to-morrow, but it will be better than that 
of to-day. It will not have more truth but a 
greater apprehension of it; not a broader mission 
but a better grasp of it; not more grace but more 
graces. The church of to-morrow, to be worthy 
of the past and to bring its heritage of ideals unto 
their fruition, must be more vital, more penetra- 
tive, more efficient than to-day; in fact, it will be 
the flower of the church in all ages, the type and 
prophecy and forerunner of the Church Trium- 

And in the church of to-morrow there will be 
men of mark, the key-persons in the Kingdom, 
the men and the women who bring things to pass 
for God and humanity. There were men of mark 
in Old Testament times like Abraham, Joseph. 
Moses, Samuel, David, Ezra, and Isaiah. There 
were men of mark in New Testament times like 
Peter, Luke, John, Paul, and Timothy. There 
have been men of mark in the Christian centuries 
like Chrysostom, Augustine, Calvin, Luther, Wes- 
ley, Edwards, and Carey. There are men of mark 
in the Christian world to-day like A. H. Strong 
the theologian, W. Robertson Nicoll the journal- 



ist, and hundreds of others. And there will be 
men of mark in the church to-morrow. They may 
not be sheer individual peaks rising solitary above 
the level of common humanity; but, rather and 
better, they will be distinct summits crowning the 
mountain ranges of elevated mankind. They will 
not all be preachers or theologians or authors of 
weighty tomes, but men of affairs, administrators, 
statesmen, philanthropists — in short, men whc 
translate the truth of God into manly character 
and then infuse this red-blooded Christianity into 
the human mass like leaven in the meal working 
till the whole is leavened. 

May I say here that to be a true man of mark 
in the church is far more desirable than distinc- 
tion anywhere else? Not one of us will question it. 
Contrast Moses the Law-giver with Pharoah the 
pyramid-builder: which looms larger before you? 
In the light of the centuries which seems to you 
the greater man — Paul the Apostle fettered in the 
death-dungeon or Nero the Emperor reveling at 
that moment on his luxurious throne? Whose 
name is preferable: Wyclif the Bible translator 
and martyr, or Voltaire the atheist? Carey the 
missionary, or Paine the infidel? Surely a good 
name is better than great riches or honor or power 
or popularity; and the best of all good names is 
that rightly won before the altar of the Lord. 

But let us remember that to be a man of mark 
in the church does not apply to that man who by 
worldly ambition, by truckling and trading, by 
base political intriguing, has attained prominence 
in church affairs. No; his reign will be brief, his 
work will be abhorrent to his brethren as long as 


it does last, and his memory will rot when he is 
gone. On the contrary, to be a man of mark 
means to have the consuming aspiration and the 
all-absorbing endeavor to attain in Christ's name 
and for Christ's glory the highest and widest use^ 
fulness possible. Let this central fire glow in any 
heart, burst into a flame of heavenly zeal and holy 
action, and the man of mark in the church emerges 
to conquer the world and glorify God. 

I say he will be in evidence in the church to- 
morrow — the church in which you young people 
of to-day will move and have your being; and 
since I hope many of you will measure up to his 
standard, it becomes worth while to study his 
traits in order that we may copy them into our 

Let us put it down as a thing fundamental and 
not needing discussion that the man of mark in 
the church to-morrow will be a genuine Christian, 
a faithful church member, and a consecrated ser- 
vant of God and humanity. Building upward 
from such foundations of character we observe 
several things worthy of mention. 


The Man of Mark in the Church To-morrow Will 
Be a Man of the Bible. 

He will not only believe in the Bible, but he will 
believe it; he will not only know about the Word 
of God, but he will know it. The voice of the 
critics will not shake his faith for he will see and 
show that their assaults are effective not in de- 
stroying the Temple of Truth but merely in brush- 
ing off a few icicles hanging from the eaves; and 
that instead of blasting to pieces the Rock of Ages 


they are able barely to scale off a bit of the moss 
that has grown upon it! 

Our man of mark will be a student of the Scrip- 
tures. He will not be satisfied to study the Sun- 
day-school lesson — one paragraph a week; nor to 
simply hear a chapter read at the family altar; 
nor to read a Psalm as a soporific for conscience 
before retiring at night. He will study it devo- 
tionally, indeed, but with his eyes open; with a 
sharp, inquisitive mind, bent on getting all possi- 
ble good out of the reading; and with a library of 
helps at hand that will throw light on the sacred 

He will verify or falsify by the standard of the 
Bible, what he hears from the pulpit or reads in 
the press. For the air will be full of heresies and 
here alone can he find a refuge from the storm of 
isms and ologies which is to arise. 

The man of mark must be a man of the Bible, 
which is honey and the honeycomb for comfort, 
milk and meat for strength, a lamp for guidance, 
and the Sword of the Spirit for conquest. 


The Man of Mark in the Church To-morrow Will 
Be a Man of Prayer. 

He may not indulge in long prayers; he will 
hate vain repetitions; he will abhor meaningless 
platitudes; he will be unsatisfied with printed 

But in the very nature of things he will, he 
must be, a man of prayer. Only thus can the ma- 
chinery of his life connect with the Power-house 
on high. He cannot ascend day by day the throne 


of his life without going first and frequently to 
the Throne of Grace. He must see the face of 
God in order to see his duty clearly and do it 

And we look to him to translate for us Paul's 
word: "Pray without ceasing." Not that he will 
neglect the place of prayer, the hour of prayer, the 
home altar of prayer, the individual closet of 
prayer; but that he will carry the spirit of prayer 
into his daily round and grind, lifting his eyes 
heavenward ever and anon through the day, and 
calling at every turn for the wisdom which is 
from above. 

Moreover, we look to the man of mark in the 
church to-morrow to restore the family altar. It 
has fallen into ruins and the decay of the family 
has, in consequence, set in. Set it up anew, ye 
men of the future; adapt it to your time, but by 
all means carry the race back to the altar in the 


The Man of Mark in the Church To-morrow Will 
Be a Man of Vision. 

His thought will overleap his sky-line and over- 
sweep the world. Not that he will be less inter- 
ested in the church where his name is register- 
ed, but he will be more interested in the uni- 
versal betterment. He will have a world-vision; 
he will indeed know of the events at his county- 
seat and his State capital, but he will also be con- 
versant upon affairs if not actually correspondent 
with men in Pekin, Tokio, Cape Town, and St. 
Petersburg. And through these world happenings 
he will look more deeply, reading the signs of 


the times, marking the great movements of provi- 
dence, and utilizing the opportunities that present 
themselves for advancing the Kingdom of our 
Lord. Thus he will see his relation to the world, 
where the need is, what he can do to meet it, and 
what he can induce others to do to meet it. He 
will be a man of vision. 


The Man of Mark in the Church To-morrow Will 

Be a Man of Sacrifice. 

He will be a dollar-maker, but the dollar-mark 
will not be his trade-mark or coat-of-arms. The 
world around him may be money-mad, but he will 
have a clear head and a true heart. Others may 
endeavor to serve God and Mammon, but He, as 
our laymen are telling us now, will serve God with 

To-day we are just learning how and how much 
to give; you of to-morrow must "go on unto per- 
fection." We have given little; you are to give 
much. We have given at haphazard; you are to 
give systematically. Our donations have been too 
iD discriminate; you are to give specifically and to 
good purpose. We have been lop-sided in our 
benevolences; you are to be symmetrical, well 
proportioned, observing true balance and poise. 
In fact, you are to be the best illustration thus 
far in history of the fine art of Christian giving 
and of human philanthropy. 


The Man of Mark in the Church To-morrow Will 

Be a Man of Concentration. 

First of all, he will ascertain what he is fit for in 
the Kingdom of God. He will not fritter away years 


waiting for his duty to be written by the finger 
of God with pencil of flame across the sky. He 
will know that there is room in the Kingdom for 
every personality, that there is something worth 
while for him to do, and that he can do this thing 
somewhere and somewhen better than anybody 
else on earth. 

And having found what he can do, what God 
would have him do, he will center upon it his en- 
ergies. The word of Solomon will be his motto as 
it was of Stanley the explorer: "Whatsoever thy 
hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." We of 
this day are too content with the day of small 
things, too impatient for results from our feeble 
efforts, too much like Joash who under the test of 
Elisha stayed his bow when his quiver was full of 
arrows. You of to-morrow in your larger plans 
for good, must specialize in your work and then 
focalize your powers. And when thus the rays 
from above are through the lens of your energy 
brought to a focus upon the hearts of men, the 
world will be set on fire for God and the right. 


The Man of Mark in the Church To-morrow Will 
Be a Man of Co-operation. 

It is a beautiful thought that the whole of 
Christianity is embodied in each and every Chris- 
tian, so important and potential is the individual. 
At the same time, in Christian work no individual 
can accomplish alone what he can in company 
with others. Hence an army in time of war; 
and hence the church in a hostile world. Thus 
it is that ten times one is more than ten, and the 


organized two can put to flight the scattered ten 

Our hoys on the athletic field are teaching us 
the value of team-work; our business men in their 
great corporations are applying the same princi- 
ple; and this same thing appears in the conduct 
01 institutions, of government, and, in fact, of 
the whole structure of society. Too little of this 
we have had in our church life. Not that entire 
federation would ever be practicable or the merg- 
ing of denominations desirable, but that within 
denominational lines, certainly, we ought to co- 
operate far more cordially and effectively than we 
have ever done. And to this task you of the fu- 
ture will set your hands. 


The Man of Mark in the Church To-morrow Will 
Be a Man of Independence. 

He will not lose his individuality in co-opera- 
tion; his personality will not be merged into a 
combination of saints, however saintly. The in- 
dependence of the individual is necessary to the 
independence of all. 

He will think for himself. There is no virtue 
in taking our ideas wholesale from others without 
letting our own minds eddy about them. This is 
not saying that one should be a stickler over non- 
essentials, that he should spend his time as a mote- 
hunter, or that he should devise strange notions 
on holy themes. But it is certain that the world 
and the truth need alert, inquiring, and judicious 
minds to search out what is true and good. 

Moreover, he will act for himself. His own 


conscience must be his guide, a conscience enlight- 
ened by the Bible and directed by the Holy Spirit. 
He will touch hands with others, but it will be 
by an act of his own imperial will eager to accom- 
plish the most possible for the betterment of the 


The Man of Mark in the Church To-morrow Will 
Be a Man of Business. 

Too long the church has been a dormitory 
wherein the man of the office could find repose 
instead of a field for service. But it is not a 
Sunday hammock for rest; not a theater for mere 
entertainment; not a club for the cultivation of 
the social life; not a screen to shield hypocrisy 
or a pedestal to win public notice. It is a place 
of work; and the world's workers, they who are 
bearing the heat and burden of the day in our 
multiform life, will find in the church an adequate 
and congenial field for their highest gifts and their 
best energies. There is more for the man of the 
pew to do than to pass and patronize the collec- 
tion plate; more to do than to buy his ticket, as it 
were, and take his seat. The kings of finance, 
the princes of the professions, the queens of so- 
ciety, the foremost of the future, are to lay theiij 
splendid powers upon the altar of the Lord and, 
thus make the best possible investment of their 

And this means not that you of the future will 
forsake the mart to lie prostrate perpetually be* 
fore the altar; but that from its sacred environs 
you will take out into the swirl and roar and 


crash of e* *ry-day life the spirit of the sanctuary 
and the ideals of sainthood. It means the transla- 
tion of the Decalogue into practical life. It means 
the interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount by 
living and vital daily conduct. It means the 
proclamation of the Word of God by lip and life 
without effrontery or effeminacy. It means com- 
bining the choice of Mary, passive at the feet of her 
Lord, with the energy of Martha, active in behalf 
of her Lord. In short, it means the bringing of 
the race to its highest type and accomplishment 
in a God-fearing, world-moving man. 


The Man of Mark in the Church To-morrow Will 
Be a Man of Convictions. 

He will have the certainty of knowledge that he 
is right, the warmth of feeling to cleave to the 
right, and the strength of will to proclaim and to 
do the right. 

In former times, men believed, knew their be- 
liefs, contended for them, often died in their ad- 
vocacy. They did not always believe rightly or 
contend wisely, but in the main, they wrought 
for the glory of God and left the world better than 
they found it. 

To-day our doctrinal muscles are flabby; we 
have little relish or appetite for distinctive views; 
an insipid unionism is smothering denominational 
loyalty; and the churches have an eye to each 
others' comfort more than to the Master's Com- 
mission. And though beyond doubt the world is 
growing better, it is equally certain that we are 
losing immensely through ignorance of essential 


Biblical teaching and that a central need to-day 
is the effective presentation of sound doctrine. 

And so we look to the man of mark in the 
church to-morrow to lead us back to the Bible; 
or, better, forward to the Bible with all that it 
contains and with all that it means to our sinful 
race. We look to him to hate sin with a perfect 
hatred, to love goodness with a perfect love, to 
serve God with a well-nigh perfect service. To do 
so, he must see things clearly, believe ardently, 
and labor aggressively. In short, he will be a 
man of convictions. 


The Man of Mark in the Church To-morrow Will 
Be a Man of Influence. 

He will exercise an "influence" in the primal 
and full meaning of the word: a "flowing into" 
others of his power and virtue and character. It 
will be influence like that of Elisha outstretched 
upon the dead boy until he breathed again the 
breath of life. It will be influence like that of 
Jesus when His garments' hem was touched and 
His power tapped by the poor diseased woman. It 
will be influence which, under God, will call the 
dead to life and lead the living to life abundant 
and life eternal. 

So our man of mark will impress himself, his 
truth, his cause upon the men of his time. He 
will labor for God even more than for gold and 
lead the world upward. He will carry into the 
church his business capacity and out of the church 
his spirituality, being at once a force from the 
community in the church and from the church in- 
to the community. He will be a soul-winner, a 


saint-builder, a Kingdom-promoter, a Satan-de- 
stroyer, because he will be a man of true and 
wholesome influence. 

Such, in part, as I conceive, will be the traits 
of the man of mark in the church to-morrow. 

Need I say, in conclusion, that the world needs 
this man; needs him more than it needs mere 
kings and presidents, financiers and economists, 
philosophers and statesmen? He alone is the salt 
of a putrefying earth, the light of a darkened 
world. To him we must look to lead the race out 
of its wilderness into a happy and endless Canaan. 

The man of mark: the world needs him; and 
the world wants him. Loud rings to-day the call 
of the future for men and women who will fear 
God and keep His commandments. 

I beseech you to hear that call to-day. See 
the sphere of your highest duty. Aspire for the 
widest usefulness you can attain. Prepare for 
the great days and the great duties ahead. Pur- 
pose in your heart by God's help to leave the world 
better than you found it. Lay your gifts, your 
time, your all upon the altar of divine service, 
whatever be the vocation of your life. "Present 
your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto 
God, which is your reasonable service." 

Young people of to-day, ye men and women of 
days to be: hear, each of you, the call of the 
present and the future, of the world about you and 
the Lord over all, — Be a true man of mark in the 
church to-morrow! 



And he went up from thence to Beersheba.— Genesis 28 


About fifty miles south of Jerusalem may be 
seen the ruins of an ancient town. Now, as in old- 
en times, it is in a wilderness; we are told that no 
shrub or tree adorns the immediate locality, while 
the surrounding territory is uninviting. Yet there 
are seven wells of ancient masonry, two of them 
containing water; so that the herdmen of this 
southern frontier of Palestine can here find a wa- 
ter-supply for their flocks. 

The chief interest in these wilderness ruins lies 
in their earliest history. Apparently this spot was 
first occupied and named by Abraham, being in 
turn the residence of Isaac and Jacob. Some of 
the most thrilling scenes in their lives were here 
enacted. Here they seemed nearer to God, more 
prosperous in business, more happy in their home 
life than elsewhere in all their wanderings from 
the head of the Perisian Gulf to the Valley of the 
Nile. It may therefore be regarded as the chief 
residential and religious abode of Abraham, Isaac, 
ami Jacob. 

The second of these patriarchs and his relation 
to Beersheba comes before us for present consider- 
ation. His father and mother sleep in the Cave of 
Machpelah, and upon his shoulders fall the respon- 
sibilities of managing the great properties of Abra- 
ham and carrying out the purpose of God. Years 
of undisturbed and successful residence at Beer- 
sheba are finally affected by a distressing famine. 
The pasture lands are speedily exhausted and oth- 
er sources of revenue and support are cut off. 
Isaac must therefore look elsewhere for temporary 

3 25 


residence. Soon arrangements are perfected and 
he is located in Gerar, a city of Philistia, residence 
of Abimelech, and situated in the fertile lowlands 
along the Mediterranean. 

His residence in Gerar began most auspiciously, 
having the favor of the king, the good will 
of the people, and a fine opportunity for busi- 
ness. That he succeeded admirably was no more 
than was to be expected. But that he went far 
beyond his Philistine neighbors, growing excessive- 
ly rich on their soil, became an occasion for bitter 
envy, malicious complaint, and final severance of 
the friendly ties binding Isaac and Abimelech to- 
gether. So Isaac departs from Gerar, the scene of 
great prosperity, but without its altar, and wends 
his way eastward up the valley. Perhaps unwill- 
ing to leave such a region with so fine an outlook 
for wealth, Isaac halted at the wells of Abraham, 
now filled up by the hostile Philistines. But in 
this vicinity, too, he was followed by the envious 
natives, and only by repeated concessions was he 
able to avert open hostility. In a short time, 
therefore, we find him pursuing his journey east- 
ward till he comes back to the old home at Beer- 

And now Isaac secures a blessing unknown to 
him as a wealth-getter in the city and valley of 
Gerar. The fact that he stood at "the well of the 
covenant," and was on the spot of many sacred 
memories, filled his soul with becoming awe and 
moral rapture. And the very night of his arrival 
he is granted a vision of God, communion with 
and renewed promise from the God of his father, 
Abraham. It was on the morrow perhaps that he 


erected an altar and called on the name of the 
Lord; the place and the act of worship coming be- 
fore all things else. And finally the patriarch re- 
establishes on this sacred spot his home, as indi- 
cated in pitching his tent and digging a well. How 
much better was Beersheba with its covenant, com- 
munion, altar and home than Gerar with all its en- 
vied wealth? 

The change from the one to the other is record- 
ed as a mere historical fact in the brief verse: 
"And he went up from thence to Beersheba" (Gen- 
esis 26:23). But to us, in view of the circum- 
stances, there is much more contained here than 
history. Isaac at Gerar, away from the patriarchal 
home, seemingly forgetful of religious duties and 
thoroughly successful as a fortune-winner, be- 
comes the type of the wandering Christian. Not 
that the analogy is perfect at all, for Isaac is rep- 
resented once as divinely directed and again as 
divinely blessed, while his efforts and sacrifices 
for peace are most certainly worthy of imitation; 
yet in its main outlines the descent to and resi- 
dence in Philistia suggest the Christian straying 
from duty, while the return to Beersheba, with 
its consequent blessings, sets forth the coming 
back of the troubled Christian to the ancient land- 
marks of spiritual bliss and duty. 

Among the Philistines. 

It is all too true that many Christians to-day 
are residing morally in the land of the Philistines. 
Their ungodly surroundings are regarded lightly, 
evil is condoned, moral crime is unrebuked. No 
altar is built to Jehovah. If any sanctuary is at- 


tended, it is that of some heathen deity — Bacchus, 
or Venus, or Mammon, or Moloch. There is a 
descent to the level of unrighteousness, a degrada- 
tion of holy profession, a temporary but disastrous 
obscuring of faith and hope and love. The result 
is that wicked companions are confirmed in their 
wickedness, the Christian (if indeed a Christian) 
is unhappy in his course, and God is dishonored! 

Mark, first, the unfortunate wandering. It may 
be that in some respects Beersheba can bear no 
comparison with Gerar: one hardly more than a 
mere group of wells in wilderness pastures, while 
the other was a royal city in the midst of a rich 
valley. Yet, with the significance attaching to 
each, it is a sad day for the Christian when he 
leaves the one for the other. The altar in home 
and in temple is neglected; the throne of grace is 
approached more seldom; the searching of the Bible 
gives way to casual reading, and then perhaps to 
almost total disuse; the moral tone of character, 
failing in development, rapidly deteriorates; re- 
ligious influence is first weakened, then obscured, 
and finally destroyed. What is the matter? Ah, 
there is a "famine" in the land! The culture of 
flocks, the increase of wealth, the betterment of 
worldly position — these things cover up the weigh- 
tier matters. The search is made for material ad- 
vantage; and when such a motive prevails, it is 
not singular that Philistia should present better 
inducements than Canaan. So the tent is struck, 
the paternal wells abandoned, the ancestral bury- 
ing-place left behind, and the descent is made to 
the broader pastures in the lowlands. A true pic- 
ture of the Christian turning his back upon all 


that is dearest to him in his spiritual history, and 
descending from, a high level of religious bliss and 
usefulness to unite with the unrighteous in their 
eager grasp for the world! 

Now, that the Christian is in a spiritual Philis- 
tia, let us note what may prove to be a temporary 
prosperity. Not that every one succeeds, by any 
means; for sometimes failure in his purpose is the 
scourge which drives him back to the olden spirit- 
ual haunts. Thus he finds speedily that the world 
has more glitter than gold, and he turns back dis- 
appointed, disgusted, penitent. But sometimes he 
gains his purpose temporarily. The Philistines at 
first smile upon him, give him plenty of room and 
a fair chance, lend a helping hand and whirl him 
forward into great prominence. His lands may 
yield an hundredfold the first year, his flocks show 
magnificent increase, his treasury become much 
fuller and his constituency more immense. How 
he congratulates himself upon the change he has 
made! The world is really not so defiling as the 
pious imagine, and the ill-reputed Philistines are 
not so bad after all! With increasing wealth and 
widening influence and rising power, surely all is 
well! But the pious observer misses the altar, the 
act of worship, and the presence of God from the 
wanderer's life. The material has overshadowed 
the spiritual; the growth of one has been at the 
expense of the other. The wanderer feels it and 
wishes he had the ability to serve God and Mam- 
mon; the good perceive it and lament the sad de- 
cline; God beholds it and determines in His own 
time and way that it shall be completely rectified. 

And thus it happens that the saint among the 


worldlings is sure, sooner or later, to come upon 
certain trouble. The once smiling Philistines he- 
come evil-eyed and hitter-hearted; at first, bad 
feeling, then disapproving murmurs, and finally 
raging criticism. After all, the world does not 
really care to have Christians descend to its level. 
There is a feeling among many that a professor of 
religion is out of place when engaging in things 
doubtful or vicious; they regard him as a fly in 
the ointment of their pleasures. And if any do 
really enjoy the degradation of the Christian, it is 
only for a time, and while it lasts it acts under 
satanic stimulus. It is possible that our wanderer 
may stray so far and sink so low that he may sur- 
pass the wicked in their wickedness; he may for 
awhile out-Herod Herod in the pursuit of special 
vice. How great indeed the change from Beer- 
sheba! But the scourge will certainly fall; and 
the greater the vicious prosperity, the deeper will 
be its lashings. Bitter envy, deepening hatred, 
and malicious hostility at last show themselves. 
He who descends to worldly ambitions can expect 
nothing else than to be treated by worldly meth- 
ods. Friends bound to one by the ties of material 
advantage cannot be depended on; their flattery 
may quickly turn into vituperation. And so the 
saint's welcome to Philistia soon wears out: if he 
fails, he leaves under their withering scorn; if he 
succeeds, he is finally driven out by a tempest of 
hate. And as he goes forth he is followed by an- 
noying hordes that would allow him no peace. 

Truly, the land of Phiistia is no fitting abode 
for the Christian. The motives that lead him thith- 
er are unworthy of him and his profession. The 


prosperity that comes to him there is one-sided 

and temporary. And vexations innumerable are 

sure to overtake and overwhelm him. 

Have any of us been through this experience? 

Are any of us in Philistia to-day? What, then, 

is open to us as the one course of safety and 


Back to Beersheba. 

The forsaken haunt must be re-occupied, the 
old spiritual home re-opened, the former habits of 
piety re-established. Up the valley of Gerar and 
out of Philistia, first of all! No man can hope to 
stay there reaching after its wealth, contending 
against its citizens, and at the same time enjoy 
peace of mind and prosperity of soul. So it is 
either Philistia with its trials or Canaan with its 
morals. Which shall it be? In our better mo- 
ments we detest the very motives that bind us to 
a strange land; we see how cheaply we have bar- 
tered our spirituality for things perishable and un- 
satisfying; and we long for the old-time joy and 
peace. Out, then, from Philistia and back to Beer- 

Back to the Place of the Covenant. — Such was 
the meaning of that wilderness home to Isaac. 
And in our experiences there has been a spot more 
sacred than all else because there we came to 
terms with God. Well you remember it! Bitter 
was the sorrow for sin, earnest had been the seek- 
ing, complete was the surrender of life to God, and 
perfect was the joy of faith. It may have been in 
your childhood, years ago, that God met you at 
your Beersheba and entered into covenant with 
you that your service of Him should be faithful 


and that His blessing of you should be continual. 
You never will forget it — that sunniest of all spots 
in your past life! But, alas, you have strayed off 
into Philistia and the light is dimmer in your soul 
than it used to be. O, fellow Christian, let us 
go back to that early experience and renew our 
covenant with God. He is the same now He was 
then, the agreement is still binding, our follies and 
failures will be forgiven, and we shall have the 
old-time joy we have so often coveted. 

Back to Communion With God. — The stay of 
Isaac in Philistia was marked by no heavenly ap- 
pearance. The fact is, God will not go with us 
in our wanderings, though He permits us not be- 
yond the reach of His arm. The Christian in the 
place and pursuit of vice has no right to expect 
the unfailing protection of God from the contami- 
nation and consequences of his course. It is sad- 
der still when the child of God becomes so absorb- 
ed in worldly affairs as to be unmindful of his re- 
lation to God. Then his morals are in danger, 
happiness departs, and peace is overthrown. He 
misses something out of his life and its place can- 
not be filled by wealth or fame or pleasure or 
power. Sickened at last, where shall he turn? 
Back to the place of communion with God speed- 
ily! As in the case of Isaac, the very time of ar- 
rival will be marked by the blessing of the divine 
presence and promise. The throne of grace is still 
accessible; let us turn thither from our unhappy 
and too long neglect and find again the joy un- 

Back to the Altar. — The wanderer has allowed 
the early altar to go down and he has sought no 


other in a strange land. We do not wonder that 
life without its altar of worship soon becomes un- 
bearable to the child of God. He remembers the 
happiness of the sanctuary with its warm-hearted 
worshipers, its uplifting services, its impress for 
good. How often has he gone there with a burden 
and left it, with a temptation and dissipated it, 
with a difficulty and solved it? There he was in 
the Holy of Holies with God, and so the destruc- 
tive tempter with all worldly seductions either fail- 
ed of admittance or was utterly trampled under- 
foot. Ah, those were blessed days around the al- 
tar! But that happiness vanished as we strayed 
away under the spell of worldly charms. And 
now if we want the joy, we must journey back to 
Beersheba, rebuild the altar if need be, and bow 
there in earnest worship. Yea, let us prodigals, 
one and all, come out of grasping, greedy Gerar 
and erect altars of worship in our homes and 
crowd our sanctuaries with ourselves and others 
who endeavor to worship God in spirit and in 

Finally, Back to Permanent Spiritual Residence. 
— Are we not to profit by our experiences among 
the Philistines? Shall we get out of trouble only 
to get in again? Will not a single wandering be 
sufficient to establish us forever in loyalty to God 
and His cause? O, beloved, when once we have 
gotten away from the troublesome Philistines and 
back again to our spiritual Beersheba, let us abide 
there contentedly and continually. There we can 
keep ourselves in the love of God; in patience we 
can possess our souls; with less distraction we can 
commune with God; with more joy we can perform 


our Christian duties and see with leaping hearts 
the result of our labors. The Christian who is 
ever wavering from good to bad, moving back and 
forth from Canaan to Philistia, is worthless on 
the one hand and hated on the other. What we 
want is moral steadiness in purpose and in act. 
We must seek abiding qualities of heart and soul. 
Away with that spiritual fickleness which shifts 
between right and wrong according to senseless 
whim or hostile pressure! Pitch your tent at 
Beersheba and there abide so long as it has an 
altar and God comes down to bless. If the foolish 
laugh at your choice, let them laugh. They may 
call it a wilderness; tell them it blossoms as the 
rose. They may scorn you as a rustic; let them 
know that the companionship of God is more satis- 
fying than the pleasures or applause of men. 
Whatever the attitude of your fellows, you cannot 
afford to descend from the heights of piety and 
grovel with the unregenerate mass in tne low- 
lands of carnality. 

Then let us catch and heed the urgent demand 
in our theme: Up and away from the land of 
Philistia! Back again, and finally, to sacred Beer- 



When I would do good, evil is present with roe.— Romans 7 : 21 


The Christian embodies in himself two seemingly- 
contradictory facts: he is both a saint and a sin- 
ner. Paul addressed the members of the primitive 
churches as "saints"; witness the opening verses 
of his letters to Ephesus, Corinth, and Rome. 
Time and again believers are styled "children of 
God," thus being admitted to the holy family; they 
are also called "joint-heirs with Christ" and thus 
are entitled to the holiest privileges of eternity. 
To further emphasize this sainthood of believers 
John declares, "Whosoever is born of God sinneth 
not." Verily, the Christian is a saint or he is not 
a Christian. But he is also and at the same time 
a sinner. The wisest man of the world said truly: 
"There is not a just man upon earth that doeth 
good and sinneth not." The man after God's own 
heart sang: "There is none that doeth good, no, 
not one." The beloved disciple not only says in 
regard to the past, "If we say that we have not 
sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in 
us," but also with reference to the present he de- 
clares: "If we say that we have no sin, we de- 
ceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us." So 
while the sinner may be a saint, the saint is still 
a sinner. Saintliness and sinfulness,paradoxical as 
it may seem, are manifest in every Christian. We 
may safely say these two traits cannot be com- 
pletely separated during our earthly existence. 
And it is just here that we have shown us the 
sphere and the necessity for the processes of sanc- 
tification, the progressive culture of the good in 
us and the elimination of the evil from us. Also, 


it is just here that we have the true solution of 
the sinning of saints, how it is and why it is that a 
good man sometimes goes astray. 

"When I would do good, evil is present with 
me." This is the language not of one unsaved 
but of a man truly regenerate; not of a babe in 
Christ, but of one who has had a wide experience 
and has come to the full stature of a stalwart 
Christian manhood; it was written by the fore- 
most minister and missionary of Christ; it is the 
utterance of a man not a whit behind the chiefest 
of the apostles. Such is the man who identifies 
himself with tempted and sinning saints, and in 
these words he voices a tenet of universal Chris- 
tian experience. 

The message of Paul in these words may be cen- 
tered about three points: First, the holy aspira- 
tions to do what is good and only what is good; 
second, the present evil which would weaken that 
aspiration, make it of no effect, and turn the cur- 
rent of life downward; and third, the life-long 
struggle between the saintliness of our souls and 
the sinfulness of our flesh, the outcome of which 
will be the triumph of the good over the evil. 
I. — The Holy Aspiration. 

Let us, first of all, define the Apostle's aspira- 
tion which in his case, as in ours, lies at the very 
base of conduct In a short simple Saxon sentence 
is borne to us the throb of the engine which pro- 
duced such marvelous results in his life: "I would 
do good." What a kingly word is "good"! It is 
lifted out of and above comparatives and superla- 
tives; for one man may do better than another 
and yet not do good, and the best that any man 


can do is short of absolute good. Yea, here is a 
very snow-flake out of heaven, the whitest feather 
of an angel's wing. To do good is to do nothing 
but good. Who measures up to this ideal? Some 
honey we may store, but how often we use the 
painful sting; some good things we may write up- 
on the page of life, but never a page unobscured 
by many a blot and stain! To do good is a 
higher aspiration than the desire to go to heaven: 
a man may have the last and yet as a spiritual 
miser, grasping after glory and yet hugging his 
sins, sink into hell; while he who aspires and 
endeavors to do good is the true lover of man, 
the real imitator of Christ, the only inheritor of 
the Kingdom of Heaven. Clear away all miscon- 
ceptions, set this aim in its true light, and we 
have no truer, no higher, aspiration. 

But observe that such an aspiration is derived. 
If the natural man does any deed that is good, it 
is not for the sake of God, not for the sake of the 
good, not for the sake of man, but around self as 
a center. No unredeemed man can clear himself 
from this charge and from this condition. No 
man can have this aspiration unless he surrenders 
his soul to God and becomes regenerate through 
divine grace. In other words, one must be good 
in order to do good. The stream of a good life 
can only come from the fountain of a good char- 
acter. Man frequently attempts the work of re- 
form down the stream; but it is at the fountain 
that the essential and saving work is wrought, and 
it is wrought by God. Here the bent of nature is 
changed so that doing good, instead of being inci- 
dental to self-interest, becomes the main business 


of life. This uplift of aim and of action, we say, 
is not human but divine. 

We are prepared, then, to see that this holy as- 
piration is distinguishing: it is one great thing 
that marks the believer as distinct from the un- 
believer. This distinctive mark is not public pro- 
fession of faith, for some profess who do not pos- 
sess and some possess who do not profess. It is 
not the external act of conversion, for some are 
like the silent dews of the night while others are 
like the shock of earthquake. It is not even con- 
duct, for between the deeds of regenerate and un- 
regenerate there may be the slightest observable 
difference, and sometimes we might point to an 
unbelieving man as more exemplary than his be- 
lieving neighbor. Not these things mark the be- 
liever invariably, finally; but we find it largely in 
his aspiration to do good. He desires ardently to 
do only that which is right; he rejoices when he 
does it; he sorrows with breaking heart when he 
fails to do it. Then, it is not that he always does 
good, but that he would do so. His desire and his 
effort in this direction are so manifest that even 
his unsaved neighbors say his failings are due to 
his weakness, to the pressure of temptations, to 
lack of light or opportunity; they know that his 
heart is right and that he does in his soul want 
to do right always and everywhere. Some of them 
may do better in some respects than he does, but 
all of them fall below him in aspiration— in the love 
of good, in the desire and in the effort to do good. 
And herein we note that which distinguishes him 
from his neighbors. 

Moreover, like every other far-reaching aspira- 


tion, this is unattained; as we rise upon its wings 
we see yet higher altitudes above us. We are 
never completely satisfied with what we do be- 
cause it comes short of what we see might be 
done. We are not quite content with what we are 
because it is short of what we might be. And so 
there is such a thing as noble restlessness; it 
comes not from being dissatisfied but from being 
unsatisfied. The man who is satisfied below his 
best and the man who is dissatisfied over his lot 
are both missing the true path of life; but he 
who, yearning upward, unsatisfied with his past 
and present strives onward and struggles toward 
this ideal — he lives even here a fragment of the 
life eternal, among the everlasting foot-hills now 
with some conception of higher slopes but after 
awhile enraptured among the blissful summits of 
the everlasting mountains. Attainments here are 
but partial and imperfect. And so the Christian 
would rather be judged by his aspirations than 
by his achievements. Whatever he has done, he 
has wished and tried to do better, and his aspira- 
tions impel him to something higher in the days 
to come. On the contrary, we suppose most men 
unsaved, certainly in the realm of morals, would 
prefer to be judged by their achievements than 
by their aspirations. This is partly because of 
pride in what has been done and partly because 
their aims and motives have been unworthy. But 
the Christian seeks to attain the unattainable; he 
hungers for a righteousness he can never have 
fully here, but this hunger will lead him on to 
complete satiety in the world to come. 

We need not speak of the stimulus of such an 


aspiration. Kindle this fire in the center of any 
soul, and the life cannot be a failure: it will send 
forth heat into the cold and light into the dark- 
ness. Character and conduct may be crooked, im- 
perfect; but he is in the right way who attempts 
to square himself by the rule of perfection. And 
so this loftiest of human aspirations will lead us 
to being and doing our best. For him who in his 
heart declares, "I would do good," there are no 
greater worlds to conquer than that which thus 
lies out before him. Oh, that such an aspiration 
were able to swing forward in its high mission 
without restraint! To what heaven would it not 
bear us in sublime ecstasy? 

But listen to the words of the sacred penman: 
"When I would do good, evil is present with 

II. — The Present Evil. 

Not only is evil abroad in the world; it also in- 
vades the precincts of every Christian being. The 
sphere of the evil of which the Apostle speaks is 
himself, his mind and his body. The presence of 
evil in us is due, we think, to two things: unde- 
veloped spirituality and indwelling sin. That 
which has been divinely implanted within us has 
not come to maturity; consequently its power of 
resistance to hostile forces is not great. And the 
inherent iniquity of our natures may be driven 
out of the citadel of our being but it is still in 
possession of some of the outworks. The soul is 
surrendered to Cod but the flesh mantling it has 
not been rescued from the dominion of sin. In 
short, there are two men in one, just as in the 
land of Canaan dwelt the undeveloped Hebrew na- 


tion and the unexterminated Canaanites. Bun- 
yan's "Holy War" is true to Christian experience. 
From the ramparts of the flesh the missiles of the 
evil one are hurled against the battlements of the 
soul. And thus we see wherein lies the capacity 
of man for sinning. Paul acknowledged that he 
did the evil he "would not do," and he charged it 
to the sin dwelling within him. It is because we 
are not completely cleansed in body and soul that 
sin finds entrance into the Christian life. 

Of course the channel of the present evil is ever- 
present temptation. The tempter often sports 
with his devotees, but in dead earnest he plies 
his arts upon those who dispute his sovereignty. 
Day and night his snares are set for them. And 
he assails them not only when they follow "afar 
off," but he draws near to deceive, if possible, the 
very elect. Witness his work among the children 
Of Israel, chosen of God, first recipients of the 
olden Bible, embodying some of the fairest names 
of history. See him invade the apostolic circle, 
ensnare its honored treasurer, bind him with the 
fetters of Mammon, and hurl him through the 
black portal of suicide into the Tophet of eternity. 
Behold his subtle strategy in the early churches — 
scattering some with persecution, rending some 
with discord, poisoning some with heresy, suffo- 
cating some with prosperity. And to-day there is 
never a Bible reading but that he is there to 
snatch away the good seed, never a petition from 
the closet of prayer but that he is there to distract 
the mind, never a sanctuary service undisturbed 
by his presence and effort to chill devotion, never 
a pulpit without constant exposure to the allure- 


ments and the assaults of the prince of this world. 
Truly may the apostle speak of evil as "the pres- 
ent evil." 

Well would it be for the Christian, if we in 
speaking of the evil present with him could say 
merely that he had through the agency of the flesh 
a capacity for sinning and that he was constantly 
subject to temptation. But Scripture and experi- 
ence bid us to take a step yet farther. Sadly we 
grant that the present evil too often accomplishes 
its purpose. There is a temporary yielding to sin 
even by the best of men. It was after he had led 
Israel out of Egypt, communed with God in the 
mountain till his face beamed with heavenly radi- 
ance, and formulated a code of laws for his na- 
tion and for all future civilization that Moses the 
man of God sinned and thereby forfeited entrance 
into Canaan. It was the man who had been call- 
ed to the apostleship, recognized as the leader of 
that circle, and admitted to special intimacy with 
his Master who with bitter oaths denied his Lord 
with a triple intensity; mark you, this was after 
three years with Jesus, but later still and after 
the descent of the Spirit he was guilty of an in- 
consistency which was withstood by the faithful 
Paul. Yes, the best of men and those of largest 
opportunity yield at times to the pressure or the 
persuasion of evil. Thus they forsake their first 
love and grow lukewarm. They seek an easier 
way than the direct path of duty and soon they 
tread the domains of Giant Despair and land in 
Doubting Castle. They backslide for a time into 
ruts of unhappiness and narrowing usefulness. 
The cause of Christ suffers; the cohorts of error 


rejoice. Oh, how baneful are the results when the 
present evil gains its end — when the flesh obscures 
the soul! What is to be done, and where is our 
path of duty? 

m. — The Life-long Struggle. 

The present evil is present to assail. The holy 
aspiration, then, must struggle in its defence and 
for its development. Our bodies therefore be- 
come battlefields. Incessant war rages within. 
The good is arraigned against the bad and it is a 
conflict to the death. 

Mark the power of sin. In the natural man it 
is absolutely over-mastering and all-powerfuL Its 
victim is a fettered slave crouching under its lash 
or bounding forward at its behest. Sin bids him 
turn a deaf ear to the pleadings of the Holy Spirit, 
and he does it, though the end thereof be death. 
Sin commands him to stifle the faithful voice of 
conscience, to trample this monitor under foot, 
and he does it, thus putting out the light which 
God has kindled in his bosom. In his better 
moments he makes good resolutions, but sin dis- 
approves and so he acts like Jehoiakim who cut 
the roll of Jeremiah to pieces and defiantly cast 
it into the fire before him. Ever and anon he 
lifts his eyes from earth and longs for the future 
glory of heaven, but sin blinds his vision, bids him 
delay his preparation, re-shackles his soul, and 
haughtily demands a more loyal service. The 
great chieftan of sin is Satan, adversary of God, 
outcast of heaven, arch-enemy of the human race. 
His prime ministers are such demons as Greed, 
Lust, and Ambition. His agencies are thick in 
the world about us — shining gold, exquisite pleas- 


life, alluring fame. And chief of all at his dis- 
posal is the flesh, significantly the anagram of self 
since it, instead of God, becomes the center of the 
life. Here sin does its ruinous work, using the 
flesh as a leverage against the soul and transform- 
ing the carnal mind into enmity against God. 

Against this power which still has some foot- 
hold in even the most saintly we must raise inces- 
sant and life-long war. The moment God enters 
the soul, the battle waxes fiercer and the enemy is 
more alert. Let us side with our better part and 
help it against the present evil. Then when wrong 
is done and the life is stained, it is chargeable not 
to <is but to Satan in us. Paul himself, shrinking 
from his sinfulness and horrified at his wrong- 
doing, cries out: "It is not I that do it, but sin 
that dwelleth in me." Mark you, he is not excusing 
himself for being overswept by evil; but he is a 
dual man and, hating the self that sins, he wishes 
to be identified with that higher and holier self 
which is born of God. This better self must not 
be degraded, brought down to the level of the 
baser self; on the contrary, it must be defended 
from evil and developed in good and have self 
cleansed as nearly as possible from its defiling in- 
iquities. So here is the battle-line, here the arena 
of struggle. Stand, therefore, by your nobler 
impulses; fight back and down the baser elements 
of your nature; Paul-like, keep the body under, 
though it must be beaten blue; let the spiritual 
in you, divinely implanted, cultivated and con- 
trolled, ascend to its rightful throne and domi- 
nate your life. 

Need there be any doubt as to the outcome of 


this struggle? You already have prophecy of it 
in the victories you are winning even here. Oh, 
*>ow delightful is the feeling of conquest over this 
baser self! How the exultant spirit rises from the 
arena of triumph and soars on steady wing into 
the upper air! You who have known what it is 
to yield and to feel the filthiness of resultant 
guilt and weakness know also what this victory 
means. You know that in the fierceness of the 
struggle you cried out for help and a strong Hand 
was extended you; the unforsaking Lord was at 
j T our side. Yea, though sin was dwelling in your 
flesh, Christ reigns in your souls. You have placed 
yourself in His charge and He who never has lost 
a battle will help you in the conflict that is on. 
And so more and more you are routing the evil 
in you and cultivating the good. But one day — 
it will not be long — death will come and the clay 
that has been so fertile for the seeds of wrong 
will be consigned to the primal dust. And anoth- 
er and brighter day shall dawn on the morrow, the 
glad resurrection morn, when your body shall 
emerge from the grave, at last cleansed from all 
sin, incorruptible, fit habitation for the redeemed 
soul and fit instrument of praise in the New Jeru- 
salem. Victory at last, and victory forever! Truly, 
"we are more than conquerors through Him that 
loved us and gave Himself for us." 

Here, then, is our view of the sinning of a saint: 
He sins. Scripture, observation and experience 
declare it unmistakably. But it is the eddy in the 
stream; the main current of life rolls onward to 
the glory of God. He detests sin. He knows its 
deceitfulness and its deadliness, and though it be 


interwoven with his heart-fibres, yet he detests 
sin. His very body under its influence he shrinks 
from as "this body of death," as if it were a dead 
and decaying body bound to his living self. He 
battles with sin. The war may be constant, but 
he will fight it out. The enemy may be his own 
flesh, but there shall be no compromise. Destruc- 
tive sin must itself be destroyed, or downward 
soul will be dragged with the body into hell. One 
day the Christian will win, as surely as God is in 
His heaven and as certain as His hand is upon the 
helm of the universe. 

As a final word, we cannot refrain from urging 
the unsaved to welcome the indwelling Christ and 
thus to rout indwelling sin. Though sin still 
dwell in your flesh, let Christ reign supreme in 
your soul. Adopt as yours the great aspiration 
of Paul: "I would do good." Under its charm 
and stimulus you can encounter and overcome the 
ever-present evil. With Christ in you and this 
star of aspiration above you, happy will be your 
life and heaven will be your home. 


I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that 
ye present your bodies, a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto 
God, which is your reasonable service.— Romans 12 : 1 


Long before it was written, Paul was aware of 
the truth embodied in the old couplet: 

Doctrine without duty is a tree without fruits: 
Duty without doctrine is a tree without roots. 

In common, therefore, with most of the Pauline 
epistles the letter to the Romans most happily 
combines an exposition of Christian teaching with 
an exhortation to Christian conduct. The doctrinal 
element predominates in the first eleven chapters; 
the practical element pervades the remainder of 
the epistle. 

At the beginning of this second portion stand 
two verses wherein the apostle announces the ba- 
sis of right living. He takes, as it were, a text 
for what he has to say afterward; so that all the 
duties of the Christian, individual, social, civic, 
which are urged in the chapters following, can be 
traced back to this base. The entire consecration to 
God of the individual, body as well as soul, affords 
a divine leverage for the enforcing of every duty 
and contains the assurance of an upright life in 
all relations. 

And so we have urged upon us the great duty 
of presenting our bodies to God; the duty rests 
back upon powerful incentive to its performance 
and looks forward to successful application of its 

The Incentive. 

We are so constituted that we work only when 
drawn or driven. Energy is the product of incen- 
tive. We go forward attracted as by a magnet 


ahead or impelled as by a goad behind. All the 
time somewhere there must be incentive, This is 
no less true of the life spiritual than of the life 
material. So the Apostle before defining the spe- 
cial duty in mind declares that which would urge 
his readers to any duty whatsoever. 

The first element of the incentive is personal. 
The writer would bring all his personality, his 
influence, and experience to bear. He was well- 
known by reputation and highly esteemed among 
the Romans; and he would use this influence for 
their good. Whatever power he had over them 
or could summon, he would use for their upbuild- 
ing under God. He calls them "brethren," and 
so urges them on by the ties of a common experi- 
ence and fraternal sympathy. And into his plea 
he throws the pleading, persuasive earnestness of 
his soul: "I beseech you brethren." Moreover, 
he was a man who was himself doing what he was 
pleading with them to do. So the marvelous pow- 
er of a matchless example of devotion to God and 
duty was a part of this personal element in the 
incentive. All that the Apostle was or could be 
in character, in conduct, in influence, he was will- 
ing and anxious to use for urging his fellow-men 
to their duty. 

The second element of the incentive is doctrin- 
al. It is bound up in a single word: "therefore." 
Through this word as a window we look back 
over the preceding eleven chapters of sublime 
doctrine. All that has been previously said is 
brought to a practical point here: the doctrine of 
justification by faith is inspiring but it inspires to 
good purpose. It is thus that weary duties are 


performed faithfully and effectively. Sound doc- 
trine is not only a stimulus to mind and inward 
morality, but also it stirs to the noblest deeds and 
the highest living. In fact, can there be any true 
living apart from a ground work of accepted 
teaching and principles whether formulated or 
not? Government rests upon it; the industries 
rest upon it; character rests upon it; yea, Chris- 
tianity rests upon it. Who can know any one of 
the great doctrines of the Bible with any degree 
of thoroughness and not be impelled to nobler be- 
ing and doing? Who can glean from the field of 
Scripture teaching without gathering strength of 
soul and stimulus of life? It is no wonder, then, 
that Paul in urging to duty urges in view of doc- 

The third element in the incentive is divine. In 
the mind of the writer it seems to be the main 
one. He did not make the personal element 
prominent; he pressed the doctrinal more for 
what it was in itself than because of his presenta- 
tion of it. But now he underscores, as it were, 
this divine element. He places the Benefactor 
before the beneficiary and exhorts the receiver to 
honor the Giver. "By the mercies of God." What 
power there is in kindness and in love! Is there 
anywhere a stronger incentive to action? Not 
merely, perhaps not primarily, the love felt for 
another but§4he consciousness of that other's 
strong ands*£a&avering love. Love which we feel 
will car*y lis I© &a# -length of sacrifice in the ver- 
formanc^leSadSiM^ #ftat are agreeable. But love 
which 3& g£flisS©2qfc§, Jfg w$ are fully conscious of 
itqalfti?.'ii^ei^R)eAt%i^willoc%rry us to any length 


of sacrifice in the performance of duties that are 
disagreeable. Our love, alone, will indeed lead 
us to do but to do according to our own ideas; 
another's love, requited, will lead us also to do 
but according to the will of that other. Hence 
of the two, love active and love passive, the latter 
furnishes the subtler impulsion and insures the 
nobler life. Just this is supplied in the divine 
economy and noted here. God loves us with a 
broader, more constant, richer love than ever 
dwelt in human hearts. His mercies are strewn 
upon us thick as the sunbeams of a clear noon- 
day. Ages before we were born the stream of 
mercy set in toward us. The days to come are 
painted in rosy hues on the background of divine 
loving-kindness. God is the giver of every ma- 
terial good. And He gives these blessings not 
because He must, not because He ought, but be- 
cause He wills; and He wills because He loves. 
Moreover, the mercies of God are not only earth- 
wide, but they are also heaven-high. Who can 
measure the love of the Father who gave His Son, 
and of the Son who gave His life a ransom for 
many? Think of a love that could give us the 
Bible, the Christ, the Holy Spirit; a love justify- 
ing, sanctifying, adopting; a love that saves from 
blackest sin and saves unto the highest heaven! 
Who can contemplate such a love and feel that it 
is for even him without reciprocating it from his 
very soul and consecrating to its behests his every 
life? If the love of God, greatest of all loves, as 
expressed and made tangible in His mercies, great- 
est and most abundant of all expressions of love, 
— if this will not move one, there is no attraction 


to draw him, no force to compel him, to a holy- 

But surely the incentive, if considered for a 
moment, is strong enough to lead to any duty. 
The plea and the example of the good and the 
great about us; the stimulus of the holy truth 
revealed in the Word of God; and, above all, the 
mercies of God coming close and constantly into 
our lives at every point. To these the Apostle 
calls attention; and surely they embody stimulus 
sufficient for the performance of any duty. 

Having thus defined the incentive, the Apostle 
proceeds to declare and press home the great 

The Duty. 

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mer- 
cies of God, that ye present your bodies a living 
sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your 
reasonable service." 

So the great duty is really given in a single 
word: sacrifice. A close examination of the 
thought in the mind of the writer reveals the 
fact that the duty consists not so much in mak- 
ing a sacrifice as in being a sacrifice. Familiar 
from of old was the making of sacrifices propheti- 
cal of the great Sacrifice at Golgotha; but after 
the Lamb of God was slain on Calvary we, like 
Him, are to be sacrifices. Synonomous therefore 
in this case with "sacrifice" is "victim," and the 
original is so rendered by some scholars. Being 
a victim is surely far more than making a victim 
of something or somebody else, whether it be the 
riches of the treasury or the fat of the flock or 
the fruit of the land. Being a victim surely in- 


eludes all other sacrifices one could possibly make. 
And being a victim brings us more directly into 
imitation of and fellowship with Christ than any- 
thing else. 

This sacrifice is voluntary. There is an appeal 
on the part of the Apostle and in behalf of God 
to the will of the believer. And the duty is one 
in which the believer, given light as to his course 
and power to walk in it, must take the initiative. 
The altar is ready; the fires are already burning 
upon it; the way is open to it; there is abundant 
incentive to arise and go to it and fling one's self 
upon it; but there is absolutely no compulsion. 
If this command is ever obeyed, it must be a free 
act on the part of him who obeys it. If man ever 
becomes a living victim on the altar of divine ser- 
vice, it will be because he presents himself to God 
for that purpose. If the citadel of the human 
will be stormed and taken, there will be no trou- 
ble in getting mastery of the entire situation. But 
this conquest must be complete; our will brought 
into absolute subjection to the divine will, and 
this act a free and full and unconditional surren- 

Again, the sacrifice is physical. It is presumed 
now that the will is subject to God, is absorbed 
into the divine will and does not raise war against 
the rulings of an all-wise Providence. This con- 
secration of heart craves an outlet, seeks a chan- 
nel of expression. And where shall it be found? 
Why, through the consecration of the body, the 
earthly garment of the soul. The light within 
must shine so brilliantly and so constantly that it 
will send its rays through the veil of the flesh into 


the darkness of the world around. Hence the ex- 
hortation: "present your bodies." Our consecra- 
tion is in no sense complete until our bodies are 
consecrated to God. You may say you give your 
house to a man but so long as you reserve the 
deed to the land on which it rests your gift is 
not absolute; the house in fact and in law re- 
mains with the land. We may profess to have sur- 
rendered our souls to God but if our bodies are 
withheld, the surrender is far from complete. 
Moreover, the physical man supplies the instru- 
ments of consecration: the feet that are swift on 
errands of mercy; the hands that are full of good 
deeds; the tongue that always blesses; the eyes 
that are alert for opportunities of well-doing and 
well-being; the ears that are deaf to evil but at- 
tentive to good; the countenance that is a benedic- 
tion; the mind that dwells on noble thoughts and 
contrives ennobling deeds; the heart that over- 
flows with love to God and man; the whole being 
devoted to good and so devoted to God. In what 
other sphere can the consecrated soul exert itself 
but through the body? How else can the good, di- 
vinely implanted in our souls, reach the needy, sin- 
ful world around us? If the body be consecrated, it 
becomes the fit and capable medium for the use- 
fulness of the consecrated soul. Hard, indeed, it 
may be and is to keep the body thus in a state of 
devotion; but if in obedience to this command we 
present our bodies, God will fill even them with 
His Spirit and we shall the more readily be able 
to conquer the evil in us. The surrendered body 
becomes the temple of the Holy Ghost; what a 
world of privilege lies in this glorious fact! Who 


then would withhold his body from the divine 

And while the body is to be the victim, mark 
you, it is to be a living sacrifice. Notice the con- 
trast between the altars of the old and the altar 
of the new dispensation: upon the old there were 
death and blood and burning flesh; but upon the 
new there is life. He who sacrificed before Christ 
stood beside his altar; he who sacrifices after 
Christ casts himself with joy upon his altar. And 
so the altar is transformed from the scene of sac- 
rificial death to the arena of sacrificial life. It 
has been beautifully said that "Jesus by His 
death swept the altar of its dead victims." So 
to-day the altar is not stone but service; the sacri- 
fice is the living self; the fire is consuming zeal. 
Sometimes, indeed, we are to serve by dying but 
mainly we are to serve by living. Our sacrifice, 
then, is more the giving of life than the giving 
up of life. And while we may feel that this is 
the more delightful duty, is it not really the more 
difficult accomplishment? Yet with its delights 
and its difficulties, the duty is clear: sacrifice the 
living physical personality to God. 

Again, the sacrifice is holy. Not the "wholly" 
that means entirely, though that is necessary and 
is elsewhere brought out; but the "holy" that 
means perfect. Surely this epithet cannot be ap- 
plied to the body itself, though it mantle the 
saintlest soul on earth. Rather does it imply that 
the act of the body's consecration is holy; and 
then that the body, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, 
is to be devoted to holy employments. Formerly 


it was under the sway of Satan and in the service 
of sin; now it is at the disposal of Christ and sub- 
ject to His perfect will. And as this mandate is 
heeded, the body approaches more and more near- 
ly itself to the standard of holiness while this phy- 
sical consecration reacts favorably upon the con- 
secration of soul. As the Levitical victims became 
ceremonially pure before being laid upon the al- 
tar, so our lives should be daily and hourly 
cleansed for their true consecration to God. 

Such a sacrifice is acceptable to God. Do we 
desire to please God, to please Him at whatever 
cost? Here is a deed that pleases Him more than 
anything else because it includes everything else 
He would have us do. By the offering of our 
lives and by this alone can we send up to God "a 
sweet-smelling savor." Our souls are made ac- 
ceptable and saved by grace through faith in 
Christ; but our lives are made acceptable 
and saved by good works through consecra- 
tion to Christ. As the smoke rose to heaven 
from Abel's altar, so the sacrificed life, body as 
well as soul, is to-day and always pleasing to 
God. Jesus said the Father seeks — not only wel- 
comes but goes forth in search of — true worship- 
pers; and the same doubtless may be said as to 
true workers. There is no spectacle upon earth — 
in the arts, the sciences, government, industry, 
human civilization and achievement — nothing so 
acceptable before God as a thoroughly consecrated 
life — a life in every part and to every power, even 
the lowest and remotest, given entirely to God, 
for time and for eternity. To do this very thing 
ought, then, to be the one aspiration of our souls, 
the one endeavor of our lives. 


Once more, this sacrifice is reasonable. The 
Christian life is not irrational; no Christian duty 
is unreasonable. The sacrifice required is not 
clouded with the mystery and superstition which 
confound the heathen; for upon our altar the 
clear white light shines from the very throne of 
God. The sacrifice of ourselves is not like that 
of the animal victims who though by the altar of 
God knew not the purpose of their slaughter; for 
we kDOw what we are doing and why we are doing 
it. To this sacrifice we are impelled not only by 
the clearest and highest reason, but by all reason. 
It is the logical thing to do in view of God's mer- 
cies. He gives us life, sustains it, blesses it, 
fructifies it; and here He points out the way to 
larger life. Whatever we are, or can be, is due 
to Him; then surely it is the reasonable thing for 
us to conform to His purpose in our lives. To 
do otherwise is to be guilty of the embezzlement 
of divine funds and to merit sentence to the ever- 
lasting Prison. But to lose life in service and 
thus upon God's altar is to find our true life both 
here and hereafter. 

The Application. 

Now that the spirit of consecration is to domi- 
nate the entire being even to the enlisting of our 
physical powers for God, the question arises, In 
what way shall these consecrated powers be ap- 
plied? To sum up the response in a word: Be 
sure of your model. Two are before us: 

Reject, then, the worldly model. "Be not con- 
formed to this world." Your life was once in con- 
formity to worldly principles but now as a Chris- 


tian you are to turn your back upon those prin- 
ciples. They are selfish and no true life can exist 
with self as a center. They are sinful and no 
healthy symmetrical life is possible with sin as an 
eating cancer upon it. They are satanic and there 
can be no permanently happy and useful life when 
the evil one is regulating it. The spirit and rules 
and practices which are of the earth earthy are 
not the proper furniture of the Christian soul. Be- 
yond doubt the world will pose for us in many at- 
titudes, but, however alluring they may be, we 
must not make them our model: the business man 
who wins fortune by fraud, the political trickster 
who ascends to fame by deceit, the society belle 
who seeks pleasure at the expense of modesty if 
not of virtue. From such models turn away as 
from the edge of an awful declivity! "Be not 
fashioned after this world." 

But adopt the divine model. What, then, and 
how is this? Not an external attitude such as the 
world assumes, but a principle of life divinely im- 
planted within us. "Be ye transformed"; be di- 
vinely metamorphosed. Such is the change which 
really brings us before our model. And this is 
defined as the will of God. Not long ago the 
burning query flashed over Christendom, "What 
would Jesus do?" And another one followed, 
fainter but perhaps truer, "What would Jesus 
have me be and do?" So in planning our deeds 
and our lives it is better to inquire what God 
would have us do than to inquire what man has 
done or would do. Not the worldly fashion but 
the divine will is to be our rule. Prove it as we 
will, test it as we may, experience it as we have 


opportunity, we shall always find it to be good for 
us, acceptable to us, and perfect before us. And 
while at times we may find it hard by reason of 
our imperfection to copy it, yet it is possible and 
pleasurable and profitable when in earnest we un- 
dertake it. "The renewing of our minds" is 
necessary; by the mind we discern, but since sin 
has impaired its powers it must be renewed, 
cleansed, clarified in order that the divine model 
may be correctly copied. So we have our model 
in the will of God, and the life that is consecrated 
to God must be fashioned not after the world, but 
after His own righteous and holy will. 

And now if we have followed the thought of 
Paul with profit, we have learned at least three 
great life-duties and lessons: 

(1) Surrender your soul to the keeping of God. 
Hear Him say, "Son, give me thine heart." You 
may have done this years ago; but do it over 
again now and taste afresh the fount of joy. Or, 
possibly, you have neglected this first-of-all du- 
ties. Attend to it now. God will welcome you 
for the sake of His Son; He will give you peace 
and life everlasting. 

(2) Place your body on the altar of God. You 
cannot give God your soul and then keep the body 
for worldly pleasures. Nay! Have you let the 
body in which the Holy Ghost is willing to dwell 
become rather the temple of pride, selfishness, 
passion, sin? Beloved, God wants that body of 
yours with its various faculties and capacities laid 

upon His altar of service. Will you give it to Him 
truly, freely, fully this day? Let Him have it 
henceforth, and though disease and death and de- 


cay may do their worst upon it He will give it 
back to you one day and it will be incorruptible 
and immortal. 

(3) Work according to the will of God. Not 
merely a passive submission to the will of God. in 
apparently adverse providences, but in particular 
the finding out of what God's will is and then the 
bending of our energies toward the carrying out of 
that will. What a glorious privilege that we must 
not walk or work in the dark, but have that lum- 
inous will to guide us! Let no man fly in the face 
of that will; let no one ignore it. But let every one 
carefully discern it and diligently heed it and thus 
through a glad and good life here he will walk 
into the larger life, the life eternal. 


Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand 
against the wiles of the devil.— Ephesians 6 : 11 


War, merciless in the destruction of men and 
means, is yet an inspiring theme. The fallen 
hero is always sent by admiring friends to the 
soldiers' paradise. The survivor is never without 
hearers who list with bated breath as the butch- 
ery and bloodshed of battle are depicted. The 
best known pages of history are those reddened 
by the blood of millions. The tales of ancient 
courage and mediaeval chivalry and modern forti- 
tude, exhibited on a thousand ensanguined fields, 
are thrilling as tales of romance and stranger 
than fiction. The poet writes in star-dust the 
glories of embattled hosts. The orator is never 
more passionate and powerful than when he 
paints the deeds of heroes or discusses the pros- 
spects of war. In the whole range of human 
knowledge and experience, there are few themes 
that have so inspired universal attention and 
gleamed on history's page or wrought in poet's 
brain or flashed from orator's tongue. 
* * * 

But there is another war of deeper interest and 
wider significance than mortal combat. It is the 
great conflict between truth and error, between 
right and wrong, between Christ and Satan. 

It is a universal war. Neither the tenderness 
of youth nor the infirmities of age exempt from 
service. The soft hand of the maiden lays hold 
of the Sword and the reticence of womanhood 
is superseded by the aggressiveness of the war- 
rior. And not only is this martial spirit in every 


stratum of humanity within our horizon; it also 
extends over and throughout the world. Spiritual 
war is war universal. 

It follows that neutrality is unknown and im- 
possible. There are but two sides — the right and 
the wrong; and we must take the one or the 
other. There are but two chieftains — the prince 
of darkness and the Prince of peace; under the 
banner of one we must enlist or exist. There is 
no middle ground to occupy. Since all are ac- 
tive participants there can be no disinterested ob- 
servers. In this universal conflict he who fails 
to enlist for the right is counted for the wrong. 
There is no such thing as neutrality. 

Again, this war proceeds without intermission. 
Inconceivable in material conflict, this is yet a 
marked trait of spiritual warfare. It is so in the 
individual life from the time the tempter en- 
counters conscience in the young* heart until the 
aged form, virtuous or vicious, sinks down into 
its final resting place. It is so in the life of the 
church from its founding in blood to the winning 
of its last victory at the dawn of the Millenium. 
It is so in the world-life from the spoiling of 
Eden by Satan till the ultimate fettering of evil 
with all its adherents in the eternal Prison House. 
War ceaseless; conflict unending! 

Moreover, there can be no arbitration. The 
two sides are as distinct as Italian noonday and 
Egyptian darkness. No compromise is possible 
and reconciliation can never be effected. It re- 
minds of the old Scandinavian belt duels wherein 
the contestants were bound together, armed with 
long sharp knives, and permitted without inter- 


ference to slash each other till one or both had 
been slain. So the war spiritual is a war to the 
death. All intelligent beings in the entire uni- 
verse are engaged on one side or the other, and 
hence there can be no board of arbitration to con- 
clude a treaty of peace. 

Strange as it may seem, this universal war is 
without conscripts. We must indeed fight, but we 
are at liberty to choose our side and our leader. 
Satan cannot and Christ will not force men into 
His service. Jesus says: "I stand at the door 
and knock"; but the occupant must open willingly 
or Christ will not enter. He says, "Follow me"; 
but he drags no one at His chariot wheels. He 
says, "Take my yoke upon you"; but no unwill- 
ing neck is compelled to bear it. He resorts to 
persuasion and not to force. He wants and will 
have only volunteers to fight His battles and fur- 
ther His cause. No conscripts in Immanuel's 
army, and only volunteers in the army of Satan. 

Once more: this universal war does not admit 
the principle of substitution. As all are enlisted, 
each one must fill his own place and be account- 
able for his own conduct. The pious father can- 
not take the place of the prodigal son; if the boy 
strays, it is his own body that must feed upon 
the husks and lie among the swine. The good- 
ness and the virtues of a friend cannot be placed 
to our credit. We cannot buy character with 
gold or a heritage of good deeds with shining sil- 
ver. Each one must take his own place in the 
ranks and so he can neither get a substitute for 
himself nor act the substitute for others. 

Let it be said also that in this war the army of 


Immanuel possesses the right of conquest. Satan 
is a usurper, the despoiler of an Eden and the 
blighter of a world, and his followers are either 
blindly deluded or openly traitorous. It is the 
purpose of the Christ to wrest the entire globe 
from the hands of Satan. And so the army of 
the living God is to go forth on one grand series 
of conquests. It is to search every sea, capture 
every continent, and bring every inch of the 
world back to God. It is commissioned to crush 
every legion of error, to demolish every fortress 
of wrong, to thwart every purpose of Satan. And 
the church militant, though emaciated on many 
hard won fields, rejoices that victories here are a 
faint prophecy of the glories of the church tri- 

Surely there is no more important warfare than 
that which is waging over the town of Mansoul. 
It has been said that the Battle of Quebec was 
the most important ever fought in North America 
because it decided two things: first, that the lan- 
guage of the continent should be English and not 
French; secondly, that its religion should be Prot- 
estantism and not Roman Catholicism. A de- 
cisive battle, indeed! Yet a greater is the con- 
flict spiritual. For it deals not alone with a con- 
tinent but with the universe; it stops not with 
language, but touches life; it concerns more than 
creedal statements and reaches the citadel of living 
faith; it affects time but also moves forward into 
the remotest eternities. Incomparable war in its 
cause, its principles, its combatants, and its out- 
come! Who can contemplate it without a surge 
of pulse or a stir of soul? 


And now since we are in this war and it is 
fraught with such tremendous results, it is of 
prime interest that we consider the rival claims 
upon us and that we decide wisely where our lot 
shall be cast. Let the opposing leaders stand be- 
fore us and let us this day choose between them! 

Behold the Prince Diabolus! He is powerful. 
The fiends and fallen angels are his devoted ad- 
herents, ever ready to hear his commands and to 
do his bidding. The world has become his arm- 
ory- The desires of the flesh are weapons in his 
hands. Evil companions are the arrows from his 
quiver. The sparkling glass, glittering gold, 
shining fame, and exquisite pleasure are used to 
carry out and on the purposes of Satan. 

And then, he is experienced. For six thousand 
years he has been troubling and tempting the 
race. He knows the customs and tastes of all 
nations. He has dealt with all temperaments and 
is acquainted with every strand of human nature. 
Princes and paupers have alike fallen into his 
clutches. His snares have caught the cultured 
and the illiterate. Age and youth, rich and poor, 
prominent and obscure, male and female, cannibal 
and Christian — people of all centuries and coun- 
tries and conditions, — all are numbered among 
his acquaintance. His experience is as old as 
man and as wide as the world. 

Moreover, he is artful. Strategy has been 
known to accomplish far more in military tactics 
than whole legions of trained fighting men. Who 
can deny that in this art Satan has attained an 
alarming proficiency? He is a foe who is well 
posted in all kinds of diabolical trick and artifice. 


His plans and schemes have been in successful 
operation for centuries. Refined and adapted to 
the last degree, his artful snares and wily decep- 
tions have won their thousands while the bare 
facts could not have captured their tens. "The 
wiles of the devil" have won for him the countless 
adherents embracing his cause. 

Again, he is deadly. Not one of his subjects 
can declare him a beneficent master. He goes up 
and down the world, not to bless and build up, 
but as a roaring lion seeking whom he may de- 
vour. If the race is ever elevated, it will be in 
spite of his wishes and efforts. He fathers no 
good work but glories in the ruin of man. Through 
sin he effects physical emaciation and either 
dwarfs or warps the mental powers. Yea, more; 
he lays that deadly hand upon the spirit just flut- 
tering into life, would keep it away from God, 
and thus consign it to death — the spiritual death 
here and the second death hereafter. Show one 
being he has called into true life or up to higher 
life or on to eternal life! There is no response; 
there can be none. Death is shrined in his in- 
most purpose and death follows everywhere in his 

Such, and far more, is the Evil One whose pow- 
er overcomes, whose experience effectualizes, 
whose arts ensnare, whose deadliness destroys. 

But on the other hand, observe the Prince Im- 
manuel. First of all, He is the very embodiment 
of wisdom. No army can hope for success with 
an insane man at the head; and many of the 
greatest generals have made mistakes resulting 
disastrously in the loss of life and liberty. Yet 


here is a leader of infinite knowledge and iner- 
rant skill. He knows his soldiers — their char- 
acter and condition, their perils and poverty, their 
trials and temptations, their sins and sorrows, 
their hardships and helplessness. He knows the 
strength of the enemy and is prepared to meet 
him. He detects the subtlest strategy of a sharp 
and malicious foe, and no trick of the w*ly ser- 
pent is hid from His penetrating vigilance. Be- 
sides, He can locate His legions where their en- 
ergies will have the most telling effect. No faith- 
ful soldier has ever doubted the military prowess 
and prudence of the Captain of his salvation. Im- 
manuel has infinite wisdom. 

A second trait is love. Some chieftans have 
not cared for the lives of their men beyond the 
accomplishment of their designs. Petty purposes 
and shallow schemes have been deliberately car- 
ried out at a sacrifice of many regiments of faith- 
ful soldiers. The devotees of war often have 
hearts no less severe and stern than that of the 
god at whose shrine they bow. How different is 
the princely Son of David! No one has greater 
sympathy for the race than He who wept with the 
sisters at Bethany. Boundless is His love for 
man even in rebellion. His great heart throbbed 
with the tenderest emotions and brought Him 
from the heights of glory to the dust of humility 
to save a guilty yet helpless world. He gave His 
life a ransom for many and shed His blood for 
the redemption of the race. In love for man He 
descended to the dreaded sepulcher, there con- 
quered death in his stronghold, and later ascend- 
ed on high to prepare a home for the faithful 


who fight His battles and carry out His orders. 
Perfect, infinite, incomprehensible love! 

Mark also His success. Great generals have 
not escaped their reverses. The darkest nights 
of defeat have sometimes followed close upon 
the sunniest days of victory. From the dizzy 
heights of military glory there has often been a 
wild and awful plunge into the dread abyss of 
military woe and ruin. And so the war chieftan, 
now victor and now vanquished, pursues an uncer- 
tain path through "alternate shade and sun- 
shine." Christ alone has never lost a single bat- 
tle. In the wilderness with all the odds against 
Him and assailed alone and by the mightiest of 
all His foes, He fought valiantly and came off 
conqueror. Satanic hosts exulted at the gloom 
of Gethsemane, the mock trial, the fearful scourg- 
ing, and the awful crucifixion on Calvary. But 
their apparent victory was only the harbinger of 
their everlasting defeat, for on the sacrifice made 
at the Place of a Skull depended the permanent 
and effective organization of Immanuel's army. 
Never have His banners been smitten into the dust 
and in the radiant yet-to-be they shall wave in 
glory over a redeemed planet, echoing with His 
praises and whirling onward in the light of mil- 
lenial day. 

Here, then, are the two and only leaders in the 
war engaging us all. Under whose banners are 
we serving? Where do we stand to-day? Let 
us examine ourselves and our situation, and 
choose this day whom we will serve. 
* * * 

In the name of Immanuel we beseech you to 


"put on the whole armor of God that ye may be 
able to stand against the wiles of the devil." 
There is fighting to be done and we need armor. 
Mind you, however, our weapons are spiritual, not 
carnal; so the armor we need 'is the armor of 
God. And if we are ever clad in it, we must put 
it on; God provides it, places it at our disposal, 
presses its value, is pleased when we use it, but 
He does not force it upon us and no soldier wears 
it against his own will. You observe also that 
the whole armor is to be used; no part of it is 
superfluous. Our conflicts are both defensive and 
offensive, and we shall have abundant occasion 
for every piece of the armor offered us. And 
when we have put on the whole armor of God we 
are to stand — the attitude of vigilance that we 
may resist the wiles of the devil, and the attitude 
of readiness that we may instantly obey the or- 
ders of our Commander. 

And so the Christian warrior stands forth pan- 
oplied in heavenly armor. The girdle of truth 
binds on the armor and imparts strength to the 
veteran. The breast-plate of righteousness covers 
the vitals and serves as a bulwark behind which 
the heart is sheltered from the missiles of the foe. 
On the march he will encounter a rough and 
thorny way, and so his feet are sandaled with 
the preparation of the Gospel of peace. The 
shield of faith is indispensable; without it he 
would be at the mercy of the foe, but with it ho 
is able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 
The helmet of salvation secures the head and in 
the hour of apparent defeat blesses with hopfeul 
assurance of final victory. The Sword of the 


Spirit is needed in every conflict and its powerful 
thrusts are always effective in driving Satan from 
the field. And within the warrior's breast is the 
spirit of prayer, the medium of communication 
with his Commander and the source of his inspi- 
ration as he fronts the battle of life. 

It is beautifully suggestive that our spiritual 
weapons are enumerated in the imagery of anci- 
ent warfare. For us, as for the Roman soldier, 
there is room and demand for a brave individual- 
ity, whether in defence of the homeland or in 
aggression on the far frontier. The armor is 
close-fitting, affects every part of us, and is as 
vitally related to our well-being as to our welfare. 
True to our experiences, it is adapted to fighting 
at close range: many of our conflicts are hand- 
to-hand, yea, many of them are fought out on the 
battlefield of our own being. Observe also that 
the armor is confined to the front; we are equip- 
ped for aggressive warfare, but the back is un- 
sheltered and must never be turned in cowering 
retreat before the foe. And the weapons of the 
soul are no less tried and true than those which 
brought honor to the Imperial City, made the 
Mediterranean a Roman lake, and elevated the na- 
tion to the dignity of a world-empire. Unarmed, 
we must surrender to the arch-enemy of our souls; 
but in the armor of God we can here win the 
victories both of resistance and of conquest, dim 
forecasts of the final glorious triumph in the un- 
ending hereafter. 

* * * 

Then, Christian soldier, g&rd on the armor 
afresh and rush into the thickest of the fight. 


Fiercely the battle is raging and your services are 
in demand. Never was there greater need of 
martial wisdom and holy fortitude than at the 
present time. Watch the wily foe of your true and 
highest interests, and plunge thy trusty sword into 
his vitals. Be ever loyal to your Commander and 
obey His orders at every hazard and at all times. 
Contend for the truth with ceaseless vigilance and 
win souls for Immanuel from the grasp of the 
enemy. Be faithful unto and in spite of death, 
and then — the crown of life, of righteousnes, of 

But we must not close without sounding the 
call for volunteers. In the providence of their 
Leader, the soldiers of the cross are rising from 
the battlefields of earth to the battlements of 
heaven. Recruits are needed; who will take the 
places of those summoned higher? Come ye and 
fill up the ranks of right. Yet be assured that 
you need the right more than the right needs you. 
How weak, defiled, rebellious is man at the best! 
And yet no disabilities need debar us from join- 
ing the army that is sure to win. Only surrender 
your heart to Christ, our Commander, enroll 
yourself among His soldiers, and consecrate your 
life to His service. He will receive you and use 
you and save you. For to you comes this call and 
command: "Put on the whole armor of God that 
ye may be able to stand against the wliles of the 


Take no thought.— Matthew 6 : 25, 31, 34 


Of all the messages of the Bible none are more 
important than those conveyed in the words of 
Christ. And of all the words of Christ none are 
more familiar than the Sermon on the Mount, the 
Inaugural Address by the King on the Messianic 
Kingdom. And while every part of that peerless 
sermon is emphatic, there is probably not a truth 
unfolded or a duty enjoined that is more import- 
ant in its practical bearings than that which fur- 
nishes our present theme. Thrice it is given, il- 
lustrated and enforced. 

In the consideration of this command as it is 
worded in our common version three inquiries may 
be raised: What is its meaning? Why was it 
given? How can we obey it? 

What is the Meaning of This Command? 

"Take no thought"! Does it mean that people 
are to be unthinking and thoughtless? Most as- 
suredly nothing could have been farther from the 
mind of our Lord. Our mental faculties are giv- 
en us for exercise; we are to perceive, reflect, act. 
The thoughtlessness of the ancient Jews occasion- 
ed one of the saddest of prophetic complaints: 
"My people doth not consider." And in the days 
of Christ the first and one of the hardest tasks 
with the disciples was to bring their minds up to 
the consideration of the highest truth and to make 
them thoughtful in their attitude to it. Let no 
one, then, on the basis of this passage, make a 
virtue of thoughtlessness. 

Does it condemn foresight? Does it check the 



man of business in the midst of his plans, the stu- 
dent in laying out his course of study, the mother 
as she looks onward to the development of her 
children? Nay; the Bible nowhere enjoins a reck- 
less neglect of the future. On the contrary, our 
eyes and energies are directed toward the future, 
like the husbandman toiling toward the harvest, 
or the runner pressing toward the prize or the 
warrior battling onward to victory. Far, then, 
from shutting us up to the present or the past, 
this command really gives us a firmer possession 
of and a clearer outlook upon the future than we 
could otherwise obtain. 

Nor are these words of the Master to be inter- 
preted as encouraging idleness or discouraging 
providence. Diligence in right business is our 
chief way of serving the Lord. The provident ant 
is our model, not the thoughtless butterfly. Pru- 
dence there should always be which will foresee 
the evil either to evade it or provide against it. 
And so the idler cannot take refuge in this text 
nor is there shelter here for the improvident. It 
is the teaching of the Bible that we are to work 
in the living present and also to work in view of 
the days to come. 

What, then, is the meaning of Christ in these 
words? Simply this: The word "thought" as cur- 
rent at the time our version was made, was an 
equivalent to anxiety, solicitude. In that sense 
it was used by the translators here. So the com- 
mand of the Lord is — Be not troubled, worried, 
distracted, over-anxious about worldly things. 
True therefore to the original and to the present 
meaning of words, the Revisers have it: "Be not 


anxious." Thus the command is intended as the 
antidote for anxiety. 

You will notice in this connection some of the 
things which excite worry and distraction. They 
are only specimen pages from the book of human 
solicitude, but they well illustrate the entire vol- 
ume. There is food daily partaken of and neces- 
sary to our support, raiment constantly worn and 
essential to comfort, and the future into which 
we are always entering. Who of us has not been 
worried over these very things? The nature of 
the food, its quality, its cooking, its serving, its 
effect; each item, over and over again, an occasion 
of worry. And raiment — not what it was repre- 
sented, too large or too small, ill-fitting, becomes 
soiled and wrinkled and torn and moth-eaten and 
musty; worry in getting, worry in using, worry in 
throwing aside! The future also becomes an arm- 
cry of nightmare: the health of to-day is not 
appreciated because sickness may come to-mor- 
row; present plenty is overshadowed by the possi- 
bility of future poverty; the friends that smile up- 
on us now we shudder to think will soon be gone, 
cold in death or colder in indifference; the bright- 
est of the days is gone and only the twilight re- 
mains. And thus at the dictate of the demon of 
Worry we label with skull and cross-bones the 
perfumes of life equally with its poison. 

"These things ought not so to be." And that 
they might not be, these words were uttered and 
have been transmitted to us. And so we may pro- 
ceed to recall the reasons resting beneath and 
around this repeated command. 


Why Was This Command Given? 

The paragraph surrounding it is really a little 
sermon upon it; a sermon within a sermon. Sev- 
eral reasons are given why we should rid our- 
selves of anxiety and rise to an altitude of free- 
dom from care. 

Worry is unworthy. The main occasions of 
anxiety are the trifles of life, not its great and 
substantial verities. The life is more than the food 
sustaining it, yet about which do we have most con- 
cern in general? The life is hardly thought of while 
food in comparison is the absorbing topic. The body 
is infinitely more valuable than the raiment mak- 
ing it comely and comfortable; yet, as tailor and 
milliner can testify, the main gospel of many i3 
the gospel of good clothes. Sad is it to see peo- 
ple more interested in hat and hair than in brain 
and thought, caring more for cakes and ices than 
for the development of life, aspiring rather to phy- 
sical grace than to elevating influence! The things 
that occasion our worry are not worth the kind 
and the amount of attention we so often givo 

Worry is unnecessary. Behold the fowls of 
the air! Where are the fields they culti- 
vate? With what instruments do they reap 
and into what barns do they store? Yet mark 
their cheerful flight in the balmy air and hear 
their twittering melodies in our forests! Why 
their apparent freedom from care? "Your Heav- 
enly Father feedeth them," and not one falls to 
the ground without His notice. And if, as some 
one has said, He feeds the birds, surely He will 
not starve His babes. "Are ye not much better 


than they?" Worry is needless; why then should 
we worry? 

Worry is unavailing. Can it he said that anx- 
iety has ever accomplished anything beneficial? 
If a man is dissatisfied with his physique, no 
amount of worry can add a cubit to his stature. 
If he is concerned with the brevity of life, all the 
worry of all his powers for all his days would not 
add an inch to his career. Whatever harm worry 
does, it certainly does no good. It brings in no 
salutary returns; it isn't worth our while. And 
so as sensible beings we ought to guard against it. 

Worry is unsuccessful. Suppose a man who is 
always troubled over his affairs attains what the 
world calls success, what then? Simply this: His 
success came in spite of his worry; he could have 
achieved more if he had not been thus hindered. 
But the point emphasized by Christ is not only 
that distraction is defeating to its very desires, 
but also that whatever it may attain is not com- 
parable to what is attained without it. To the Jew- 
ish mind the brightest possible glory of earth was 
centered in the person and court of Solomon. But 
the radiance of that splendid court was not with- 
out the rust of corroding care. Go yonder to the 
fields; consider the lilies, unfolding their peerless 
petals, untoiling and untroubled. "Even Solomon 
in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these." 
The trusting, transient flowers out-dazzle earthly 
splendor; then why should we be anxious about 
material magnificence when the best we can attain 
is not to be compared with the budding flowers 
of glorious spring-time? In both aspiration and 
achievement anxiety is unsuccessful. 


Worry is unbelieving. The mantle of divine 
providence is thrown over the entire world. It 
shields not only the great oak, monarch of the 
forest, but also the sprig of grass, a tiny shred of 
the earth's carpet. And if in His infinite watch- 
care God is so vigilant of these least things, will 
He be unmindful of man whom He has made the 
crown and glory of His creation? If He clothes 
with the beauty of the lily the vegetation of the 
field which to-day blooms and to-morrow burns, 
shall He not much more clothe us who are made 
in His likeness? Let us fit ourselves into divine 
conditions, fulfil the divine purpose in us, and 
then — trust God. Yet are we not to-day entitled 
to the same designation used by our Lord: "O 
ye of little faith"? If our faith were strong, we 
would not worry. When we do our best, we ought 
to be satisfied; and if we have not done our best, 
no amount of anxiety can correct the deed that is 
done or undone. And when we allow ourselves 
to be thus entangled and troubled, it evidences to 
that extent our unbelief in God. 

Worry is unbecoming. The over-anxious Chris- 
tian is too much like the greedy heathen. If he 
seeks with the same fervor and by the same 
methods the same things the great unbelieving 
world is after, where, in the eyes of the world, is 
the difference between them? The Christian pro- 
fesses to stand upon a higher level, to have a 
truer wealth, to aspire to nobler things; yet he 
descends from the pedestal of divine providence 
and grovels and struggles and battles and worries 
in the common mire! It is no wonder that men 
below the Christian horizon worry; their all is 


around them and if they lose there is nothing to 
fall back upon. But for a child of God to descend 
from his eminence of privilege which affords him 
the best there is in this life and entitles him to 
the larger life to come, for such an one it is in- 
consistent and unbecoming to plunge headlong in- 
to the sea of earthly anxieties and solicitude. Your 
Father who controls the forces of Nature, the 
affairs of nations, the tides of fortune, He knows 
your need of the things of earth and He places 
them where honest labor can win them in suf- 
ficiency. What cause is there, then, to be tor- 
mented by unbecoming solicitude? 

Worry is unrelieving. The load of life is never 
for a moment nor in anyway lightened by anxiety. 
On the contrary, the burden becomes heavier; 
heavier because of the wear and tear of anxiety, 
but also because it borrows from others and from 
the future. Each day has enough of duty and 
privilege to occupy our full powers, but anxiety 
diminishes our capacity for work by adding to- 
morrow's troubles to those of to-day. And while 
we are to bear one another's burdens, we are not 
to borrow them. Each life has its own burden 
and strength is given to bear it. But we cannot 
bear all the burdens of all th« world and we need 
not rack ourselves with the responsibility. Our 
own duty, our duty to-day — to these let us bring 
and devote our full powers; and remember that 
anxiety brings no relief. Work without worry; 
work and wait. 

Upon the background of these truths we see 
abundant reason for the giving of this command. 
And we are equally impressed with the desirabil- 


ity of freedom from care. The burning practical 
application, then, lies in the conquest of care. 

How Are We to Heed This Command? 

There are three very simple directions which, 
if we faithfully and constantly follow, will enable 
us to overcome this sinful anxiety. 

First, let trouble alone. There is a quaint little 
proverb, familiar from our childhood, which con- 
veys a wholesome truth: "Never trouble trouble 
till trouble troubles you." Have you not noticed 
that those who are most troubled are the troublers 
of trouble? A mastiff may not be vicious, but 
if aroused, he will certainly bark and probably 
bite. Let the animal alone; there will be enough 
to do when he comes forth of his own will against 

Let trouble alone: don't hunt for it. And yet 
there are mighty hunters for occasions of worry. 
In cavernous hills and thickety swamps, in buzzing 
days and ghosty nights, they are always searching 
for something to worry over. With microscope 
they magnify the little and with telescope they 
bring near the distant, and so the whole atmos- 
phere swarms with perplexing cares. Oh, how 
much unhappiness and havoc is wrought by these 
hunters of difficulty! 

Let trouble alone: don't imagine it. Many a 
life is haunted by the ghosts of anxiety. The 
ghosts seldom materialize; yet they transform that 
life Into one long nightmare. Many of our vexa- 
tions are only imaginary. And this faculty at- 
tains after awhile a marvelous facility and fertil- 
ity. Years ago a Western neighborhood was ex- 
cited for days over the report that a graveyard by 


one of its churches was haunted; passers-by in the 
night had seen something white waving above the 
graves. At last, a brave-hearted man determined 
to investigate. He went one night and sure 
enough there was the mysterious white object 
moving to and fro. Wilder beat his pulse, but his 
judgment led him toward it. Almost breathless, 
he reached forth his hand, not knowing but that 
it would pass right through the thin air; but he 
found it — a stalk of mullein moved by the breeze! 
Ah, how often we are frightened out of our way 
not by real sheeted ghosts dancing upon their 
graves, but by mullein stalks unnoticed in the 
light and breakable by the hand of a child! 

Let trouble alone: don't borrow it. As with 
money, so with trouble, there are more borrowers 
than lenders. And a like principle applies to 
both: it is best to keep out of debt. We apply 
for loans mainly at the Bank of the future. Thus 
we spoil to-day and the day to be. We are all the 
time crossing bridges before we get to them and 
encountering mountains when we are yet among 
the foot-hills. How much the average man needs 
to learn: "Sufficient unto the day is the evil 

Again, exercise a trusting faith in G-od. Our 
faith is put to little use when we allow the tide 
of trouble to overwhelm us. For this very reason 
we are connected with the everlasting Throne by 
the cable of belief. You remember the words of 
the German poet: 

"Have faith where'er thy bark is driven — 
In calm's disport, in tempest's mirth; 

Know this! God rules the hosts of heaven, 
The inhabitants of earth." 



Trust Him, then, for He is near. Each and all 
of the days to the end of the age He is with 
each and all His followers. If with Daniel we are 
cast into lions' dens, no real harm will come to us 
there. If we are thrown into the fiery furnace of 
affliction, there will be with us One who is the Son 
of Man. If our bark is tossed by sudden storm, 
the Master is yet aboard with us and He can calm 
the furious winds and waves. Oh, let us not worry 
over the trials of life, for our Lord is near. 

Trust Him also, for He guides. When He is my 
pilot, I dishonor Him if I am agitated because of 
the shoals and the rocks. If His hand be upon the 
helm of life, the desired though distant haven is 
sure to be reached. Moreover, His relation to 
the individual is but typical of His relation to the 
whole creation. In and over all He guides and 
rules; and He is our Father. Then why worry? 

Trust Him for He loves us and will always pro- 
vide. Not a day nor an hour nor a moment do 
or can we move beyond the sweep of His loving 
kindness and tender mercy. He provides for us 
every material blessing, but above all, through 
riches of grace, He crowns us with life eternal in 
the many mansions above. Oh, let us put our feet 
upon the Rock of Ages; then why need be so con- 
cerned about the shifting sand of earth? 

Finally, put God and His work foremost. Is it 
possible that we could be induced or consent to do 
otherwise? Yet this is precisely what is being 
done by those who are over-anxious about worldly 
things. We permit a house here to eclipse the 
mansions hereafter; we show more concern about 
raiment which moths can eat than we do over 
the white robes of present character and future 


glory; we are more anxious that our names shall 
be inscribed in the musty registers of worldly emi- 
nence than that they should be written in the 
Lamb's Book of Life. How foolish and sinful we 
are! "Seek first the Kingdom of God and His 
righteousness!" First in point of time and first 
in point of position. If we are not Christians, 
here is the very first thing to be done: before an- 
other lesson is learned or another meal is taken or 
another task is performed, "Seek first the King- 

As Christians, then, we should always put the 
interests of the Heavenly Kingdom foremost. Does 
your work interfere with this program? Adapt 
it or abandon it. Are your pleasures in the way? 
Sanctify them or sacrifice them. What occupies 
the highest seat in your faculties and being? Put 
God higher; enthrone Him in your soul and life. 
This is the highest secret of true happiness, use- 
fulness, and success. On this platform there is no 
room for sinful anxiety. If our whole being be 
dominated by holiest purpose and aflame with 
heavenly zeal, we can trample upon the perplex- 
ities and worries of life. We are right with our- 
selves and the world only when we are right with 
God and His Kingdom. 

Take, then, these words of the Master and pon- 
der them well. It is too much to hope that you 
can learn it in one brief hour; such a lesson be- 
comes a part of us only through the long processes 
of discipline. Worries will come with the coming 
years, but strength will be given to overcome 
them. Use the strength; vanquish the worry; en- 
joy the days wrested from care; and devote your 
undivided faculties to the glory of God- 



See, then, that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, 
redeeming the time, because the days are evil.— Ephesians 5 : 15, 16 


The words of Paul imply, first of all, the value 
of time. It is not a little noticeable that God 
measures out time to us with a less lavish hand 
than probably anything else. An abundant and 
varied animal and vegetable life around us; in- 
finite stores of knowledge in the books of nature 
and of men; vast oceans and plains and moun- 
tains; the spacious atmosphere enveloping us and 
the immeasurable heavens above us: these and 
countless other things show that Jehovah extends 
to man a bountiful and loving hand. Yet when 
time is given us, how much is granted? Our 
three-score and ten in one solid lump? Nay, ver- 
ily. As much then as a year or month or week 
or day? Not even these; not so much as an hour 
or a minute! Only the tiniest speck is given us 
at once; time is allotted by briefest moments. Back 
of us an eternity unbegun and ahead of us an 
eternity unending, and yet we are given a bare 
needle-point of the immediate present upon which 
to stand. How valuable, then, must time be in 
the esteem of Him who gives it! 

And though these moments succeed each other 
until they accumulate into years and decades, 
how little after all is given to any one! It is so 
precious that the mean tide of human life does 
not rise to as much as thirty-five years. Our 
cemeteries have more short graves than long 
ones; there are more flowers in the spring than 
fruit in the autumn. And when we come to the 
time of "the sere and yellow leaf," we look back 
but a span to the days when the edge of color 


first appeared in the opening bud of youth. As 
we look back, how quickly the long years of even 
Methusaleh were swallowed up in the vortex of 
the past. A single verse tells the biography of 
nearly a thousand years, and half we know of the 
oldest man is told in the terse formula: "and 
he died." So short is time at the longest. How 
precious, then, it ought to be in the esteem of 
him who possesses it! 

The value of time is also accented by the fact 
that we know not beforehand whether we are to 
have much or little of it in the aggregate. The 
date of its closing is uncertain: "thou knowest 
not what a day may bring forth." We have no as- 
surance that we are to live for many years; no as- 
surance, for that matter, that we are to outlive the 
light of this holy day. Death will come one day 
and may come any day, and so every day bears the 
stamp of possible finality. With such a charac- 
teristic does not the day seem more important and 
of greater value? 

And, then, it is not really our own property. 
Even the little that is given us at once we cannot 
call ours in any real sense. It is not ours or we 
could hold on to it and lay it aside for future 
use. It is not ours that we can do with it just 
as we please. Our fragment of time is but a piece 
of God's great eternity. And our fragment is 
given us in the minutest fragments first because 
we are able to handle no more, and secondly, 
because God expects us to use it for His glory. The 
preciousness of time is, therefore, seen in the 
fact that while we are entrusted with it particle 
by particle, even these are not our own. 


Moreover, time is valuable because it brings 
opportunity as its unfailing associate. Some days 
are larger with opportunity than others; or at 
least, we so regard them. But every day brings 
its freightage of golden privilege; not one is bar- 
ren of prospect In this regard. The bright day 
and the dark day, each brings its own duties and 
none are to be overlooked. Many heroic deeds 
are set in a frame-work of storm and fire. But 
as truly are there heroes who daily walk the un- 
adorned yet beaten paths of common drudgery. 
No man and no moment without opportunity; and 
only by seizing the moment can the man grasp the 
opportunity. Then as certain of the poets has 

"Moments seize 
Heaven's on their wings; a moment you may wish 
When worlds want wealth to buy." 

Again, lost time is irrecoverable. The dissi- 
pated hour can never be returned; the squandered 
day is never again presented; the frittered year is 
gone forever. Drop overboard the pearl of the 
present moment; your ship halts not for you to 
recover it nor passes that way again. Wealth in- 
herited or earned may be wasted through idleness, 
dissipation, mismanagement, or misfortune; yet 
by industry and prudence one may win back 
more than was lost. A robust and vigorous 
health, weakened by exposure and imprudence, 
may be regained by careful regard for its laws. 
A fair reputation, stained with misdeed for per- 
haps years, may in large measure be restored by 
an unvarying and persevering course of well- 
doing. But lost time — who can restore it? Lost 
once, gone forever! 


But valuable as time is in itself it may become 
in the hands of the diligent more and more val- 
uable. The right use of time for a series of years 
will make minutes accomplish more than days 
used to do. A boy who can win only five cents 
an hour may after awhile win as many dollars in 
the same length of time. By mental discipline 
the man can compose a book as quickly and far 
more readily than the youth wrote a society es- 
say. Thus valued time becomes more valuable as 
we use it without abusing it. In view of all these 
things, who can fail to be impressed with the pre- 
eminent value of time? 

Yet in spite of this impression, time is reckless- 
ly squandered. Men hold their money more firm- 
ly than their minutes. Many innocent looking 
mortals are criminals against time: the infantile 
second is thrown out to neglect, the manly day is 
stabbed to the heart, the dying year is an object 
of scorn. In the midst of this pillage and murder, 
Paul sounds a clear, strong note of duty: Redeem 
the time! Let this not be confounded with re- 
gretting the time; for one may be sorry for his 
past mistakes or tearful if not rebellious over his 
past misfortunes without redeeming the time. 
Two gardens entering on a vigorous life were 
checked by the blighting frost; one gardener im- 
mediately replanted, the other fretted for days at 
the frost; and so the first garden came to its 
final fruitage before the other. Which of the 
two gardeners came nearer the course of wisdom 
— he that wrought or he that regretted? Again, 
as we have seen, redeeming the time is not regain- 
ing lost time, for that is gone never to return; 


and yet many in seeking to detain the parting 
guest fail to welcome the coming guest; thus a 
genuine hospitality is accorded to neither. To 
desire a future better than the past is laudable, 
but one may have it without heeding the com- 
mand of Paul; for desire unless it become deed is 
of little value. So the theater of obedience to 
this mandate is not the dead past, not the unborn 
future, but the living, manly, privileged present. 
Redeeming the time implies and demands the 
right and fullest use of the present moment. 

Several things may be included in this duty. 
The central idea, however, seems to be that of 
husbanding the opportunities of the passing mo- 
ments as the merchant utilizes his opportunities 
for winning a fortune or as the bee seizes upon 
the flower for the gathering of honey. And these 
opportunities are twofold — in fact, each oppor- 
tunity is twofold: first, being good, second, doing 
good. One phase may seem to predominate at 
certain times, but both are inseparable and they 
react upon each other. And if we thus bring 
every moment to contribute to our well-being or 
well-doing, we shall perform this important 
duty. The hours will then be rescued from idle- 
ness which murders time in cold blood; from van- 
ity, which murders time by suffocating pleasures; 
from distraction, which murders time drowning 
it with care; from excessive devotion to business, 
which murders time by overdriving its powers. 
Let not a day fall into the hands of these ban- 
dits of time; keep it from their clutches; use it 
for your good. Prom the wrong and for the 
right redeem the time! 


But how is this best to be done? 

"Walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise." 
Observe the word employed to express our using 
of the time as it passes: Not standing still, for 
that would signify inactivity; not running, for 
that might imply over-activity and we could not 
hold out always; but walking, an evidence of 
life, a deliberate act, the exercise of power, a 
speed that can be held, a worthy destination 
ahead, a means of advance toward it, a thing for 
all to do. If a man walks, he must go; the 
Christian cannot idly stand unless he stands in 
the way of sinners. Walking is not taking just 
one step and then stopping; so redeeming the 
time is not making one hour valuable and leaving 
all the rest to disuse and neglect. The walker 
has a purpose or destination in view; he who uses 
the time aright must be dominated by a high pur- 
pose in each day allotted him. As walking is a 
universal accomplishment, so the right use of time 
is within reach of all. 

But mere walking, mere activity, is not in itself 
sufficient for the performance of the great duty 
enjoined. The walk must be strict. The Apostle 
enjoins not only the what but the how. Walk- 
ing may be irregular, ungraceful, purposeless, of 
little value; so we in a spiritual sense and in the 
use of our time are to walk circumspectly, accurate- 
ly, exactly. And how are we to do this? Certainly 
there is no better model than the great ante- 
diluvian who "walked with God." Thus our lives 
are brought into association and connection with 
the divine life: we follow Him who left us an ex- 
ample that we should follow in His steps; we find 


in Him the holiest companionship and the might- 
iest incentive; we are vitally united to Him in the 
work here and in the glories of the hereafter. 
And so we can walk circumspectly only when we 
walk with God. 

This implies that our powers are under control 
and that life is regulated by righteous rules. Not 
that one should be bound hand and foot by a set 
of man-made, self-imposed, inflexible regulations; 
for these would fetter life unbearably. But on 
the other hand, there is no greatness attainable 
without strict adherence to broad, wise, funda- 
mental principles. Nearly every man of note is 
able to enunciate a few great maxims which lie at 
the base of his success. Then we should say tha 
circumspect walk is the having of a well-planned 
life. We cannot do everything, but we can do 
something; and to that something we should bring 
not only our energy, but also our wisdom — our 
energy under direction of our wisdom. And not 
only should we have a life plan and purpose, but 
let this express itself in the planning for each 
day. We seldom do what we do not definitely 
plan. And so let the morning light bring home 
the query, What shall 1 do to-day in line with 
the purpose God has in my life? And when the 
day is done, in the gathering shadows let this 
query rise, Have I done what I planned this morn- 
ing or adapted the plan to the exigencies of the 
day so as to do even more than I thought? You 
remember the poet says: 
"Count that day lost whose low descending sun 
Views from thy hand no worthy action done." 
How many days slip into the past without bearing 


the memory of a really good deed, and mainly be- 
cause we have not purposed in our hearts to make 
the most of the fleeting hours in accordance with 
some worthy plan. The morning assignment and 
the evening examination will help us walk cir- 

The walk which redeems the time is not only 
strict but wise as well. Walk strictly, but do 
this "not as fools, but as wise." We suppose the 
Apostle means that we can be unwisely strict. 
For one thing, as already intimated, we can be 
so strict with ourselves that life is not free but 
fettered. For another, we can be so strict as to 
be or certainly seem egotistical in regard to our 
integrity — a "holier-than-thou" impression, a 
"goody-goody" life which repels rather than rec- 
ommends. And again strictness may easily border 
upon or merge into intolerance both in faith and 
practice. So while the walk must be strict, ac- 
curate, circumspect, and these first of all, yet it 
must be wise; it must be accurate as related 
to the individual himself and it must be wise 
as related to his fellow-men. It is, there- 
fore, free from occasions of stumbling. The 
walk with God is a walk before men, and it must 
not and does not toss into the way of others 
stones of offence. Such a life, far from incurring 
the animosity, ridicule, jest, or indifference of 
the public, wins "a good report from them that 
are without." Men may not do right themselves 
but they recognize and remark when one does 
right in the right way. And such a Christian 
walk is not only unstumbling, unoffending, but 
edifying as well. It warns and invites the way- 


ward; it stimulates and strengthens the upright. 
The life of Stephen was so pure that while his 
adversaries felt themselves above him in argu- 
ment they knew him to be above them in life. 
They might carry the people against his teaching 
but they stood powerless in their assault upon his 
blameless life. Wisely and circumspectly was he 
walking and though a martyr's death stood in 
his path, he swerved not from it. And if in this 
walk we find ourselves doubtful as to what course 
to pursue, we are assured that the Source and 
Giver of wisdom will, for the asking, grant us 
liberally from the infinite store. 

Once more: redeeming the time after this man- 
ner does not come as a matter of course. It is 
the result of attentiveness, strict and persevering. 
It is worthy of much thought, of our main 
thought, of the highest thinking we can do. Right 
here we succeed or fail for time and eternity; 
here we do our lasting work or achieve our last- 
ing ignominy. Think, then, on these things. 
Dwell on the past only to learn its lessons which 
will help to avoid future evils and perform fu- 
ture duties. If any flower garden of pleasure 
would turn you aside from the exact walk in 
duty's ways, repel its seductive fragrance, be 
not enamored of its transient beauties; keep 
right on, for your face is set toward the fade- 
less Eden of boundless and perpetual pleasure. 
Let nothing deter or destroy this greatest work 
and purpose in life. And not only must we think 
how and what to do and deny ourselves of what- 
ever is in the way, but in the way thus cleared 
we are to exert special energy. Ought we not to 


work for ourselves only in working for God? Are 
not our positions in the home, in society, in busi- 
ness, in professional life, in government — are not 
these merely the tools for the accomplishment of 
our real work? Keep the tool in order but spend 
not more time on it than on the work for which 
it is designed. Some one has said: "Few work 
on the highest subjects at full pressure." Precious 
time and the entrusted talent to utilize it are too 
often wasted upon trifles or squandered outright 
as bank-notes thrown into the fire. Most of our 
work is done in a sphere reaching no higher than 
our heads, and so the secret of true living is never 
learned. "Walk circumspectly, not as fools, but 
as wise." 

Notice, finally, the apostolic reason for insisting 
upon obedience. "Redeem the time," he says, 
"because the days are evil." The idea, then, is 
not so much that the days are few, for life con- 
sists more in deeds than years; not so much be- 
cause the days are uncertain, for he who com- 
pletes life as he goes will be ready for the end 
when it comes; not so much that the days are 
unreturning for the present employs all our en- 
ergies without the past doubling back upon us. 
But "because the days are evil"; not evil in them- 
selves: each moment is a snow-flake from out the 
heaven of God's mercy and if it loses its luster, 
it is because we heedlessly trample it in the mud. 
Evil in this sense: we live in a world of sin, so the 
days come and with them seductions to sin; we 
live in a world of trials, and so with the days 
come the tides of misfortune; we live in a world 
of conflict and often the days are darkened by 


the smoke of spiritual battle. Such are the evils 
that crowd into our days and would take complete 
possession of them, wresting them from the grasp 
of holy purpose, and desecrating them with un- 
worthy and ignoble energy. And for this pre- 
eminent reason we are enjoined to redeem the 

No individual can hope to live in this world 
without his evil day perhaps many times repeated. 
Jacob at the court of Pharaoh referred to his days 
as few but also as evil; never could he forget the 
evil days that came to him in his own family, to 
mention none outside — in connection with Esau 
his brother, Laban his father-in-law, and his sons 
who had sold Joseph. Paul pictures the Christian 
warrior standing firm in the evil day of combat 
with error. Who does not know the pain of the 
evil day of sorrow when a loved one is snatched 
away by the hand of death; of disappointment 
when rosy hopes turn out to be faded and shatter- 
ed petals; of reverses in business when the hard- 
est efforts terminate in apparent failure; of de- 
pression in spirit when melancholy sinks its dead- 
ly beak in our souls; of temptation when the en- 
ticements to sin are so strong that human strength 
alone cannot resist; of waning spirituality with 
its unhappiness or of uncheckable trials with 
their burning tests. 

The individual day in the individual life may 
be evil, but there is also a hint of the preval- 
ence of evil in the world about us. The love of 
money makes the heart of man as hard as the 
metal he loves and is a root of all kinds of evil. 
Ambition burns out the graces and leads its de- 


votee to almost any length, of evil. Appetite for 
strong drink and ruinous drugs destroys manhood, 
home, and soul. Lust is an eating cancer, clutch- 
ing at the vitals and revolting to the last degree. 
Scepticism paralyzes the highest powers and 
thwarts the noblest possibilities. Formality suffo- 
cates genuine piety and forestalls the exertion of 
a lofty spiritual influence. Oh, how much evil 
there is in the world which the light of each day 
must reveal! 

The evil must be met, counteracted, overcome. 
We are commissioned to do the work. And we 
can do it by redeeming the time. Job had his evil 
day but he redeemed the time and the last scene 
pictures a greater prosperity and happiness than 
at first; Judas had his evil day, did not rightly 
use the time, and came to a terrible fate. Israel 
in the wilderness used the long years of waiting 
and so became prepared for entering the land 
flowing with milk and honey; but later they for- 
got as a nation to redeem the time and hence 
their dispersion over the earth and the passing 
of the sacred city into the hands of the Gentiles. 
The days are indeed evil; herein lies our strongest 
reason not for rejecting them but for redeeming 
them. Happy will we be and happy will the world 
be when this lesson is learned. 

And now let us take with us these seven 
thoughts as the summary and application of what 
has been said in regard to our duty to time: 

(1) Value it: as you value your happiness, your 
usefulness, your very soul. 

(2) Rescue it: let no pirate capture it and no 
murderer kill it. 


(3) Fructify it: put into it the germ of a high 
and holy purpose. 

(4) Consecrate it: economize, energize, effect- 
ualize every day and hour. 

(5) Transform it: the evil day is not an evil, if 
it be redeemed. 

(6) Surrender it: to the past when the deed 
is done and to God when time is over. 

(7) Supplement it: for it may be made the 
stepping-stone to a golden eternity. 

And so may the Great Giver of time grant us 
also the wisdom to use it so that at the last we 
may lay it full of good deeds at the Master's feet 
and hear Him graciously say, "Well done!" 



If any man's work shall be burned, he shall surfer loss; but he 
himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.— First Corinthians 3 : 15 


The picture in the Apostle's mind as he wrote 
these words was well illustrated in the city of 
Corinth where his readers lived. There were the 
stately temples, palaces, and other public build- 
ings, resting upon adamantine foundations, their 
massive walls constructed of granite and marble, 
their columns and roofs glittering with decora- 
tion of silver and of gold. Within the same city 
and often hard by these structures were the huts 
of the poor and the profligate: set like mere 
coops upon the ground, the walls of board or of 
wooden laths with straw in the interstices, the 
roof composed of thatch. The contrast between 
the two was less on account of present architect- 
ural beauty and utility than in the matter of per- 
manence. Which could better and longer stand 
and defy the ravages of hostile forces? Which, 
for example, could more effectually withstand a 
raging conflagration? There could be but one 
answer. Every one in Corinth remembered the 
awful fire which had occurred many years ago. In 
those greedy flames the houses of wood and straw 
were eagerly and completely devoured while their 
hot breath swept without avail against the walls 
of granite and marble. And so the searching fire 
with pencil of flame drew the line between the 
transitory and the permanent: on one side, smok- 
ing rubbish; on the other, unmolested and inde- 
structible grandeur. 

We are thus taught some awful lessons relative 
to the building up of a true life, both in character 
and in conduct. First of all, be sure on what you 


build: not on slippery soil or shifting sand, but 
on Christ the Solid Rock. "Other foundation 
can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus 
Christ." Then upon this one secure basis of a 
truly successful life be sure as to what you build. 
There are two classes of material: on the one 
hand, gold, sliver, costly stone — the very best 
products of mind, heart, and soul; on the other 
hand, wood, hay, stubble— the mere froth and 
foam of life, entirely out of keeping with the 
foundation. Upon what is so infinitely precious 
we ought to lay the most precious we can com- 
mand. And again, be sure that you build iu view 
of fire. The structures we erect will be severely 
tested by a more searching flame than ever invad- 
ed the habitation of man. "Every man's work 
shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare 
it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the 
fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is." 
The sane man will surely desire and seek to per- 
form a work which will remain undestroyed be- 
fore the revealing fire. 

Yet when the great time of testing comes, the 
Apostle further tells us, some shall be rewarded 
and some shall suffer loss. As there were the 
two kinds of buildings within the one city of 
Corinth, so there are two classes of builders on 
the one foundation. In the first instance, the 
man is saved and his work rewarded; in the sec- 
ond instance, the man is saved but his work de- 
stroyed. The life-structure of the one stands the 
test and is praised; that of the other fails largely 
or entirely and is destroyed. Both builders them- 
selves escape by the grace of God; and so the 


vital difference between them lies in the result of 
the supreme test of their work under the discrimi- 
nating hand of God in the final judgment. 

The second of these characters furnishes the 
theme of our present consideration. The labors 
of his life are Christless and valueless; in the 
flame of testing he suffers loss in the burning of 
his work; but out of and through the flames con- 
suming his work "he himself shall be saved." And 
so at the Judgment seat of Christ he hears upon 
him the inerrant verdict: "Burn the work. Save 
the worker!" 

The Work Burned 

It is not a little significant that the fuel of that 
ultimate flame is here described by the word 
"work." Then, it is not play, much as we spend 
upon trifles; it is not idleness, much of time and 
opportunity as we thus fritter away and neglect; 
it is not labor alone which through aimlessness or 
ignorance fails of result; for all of these, as every 
one knows and feels must be swept away. But it 
is work, labor that accomplishes something, that 
reaches its purpose, and leaves some traces of en- 
ergy after the worker is gone. It is the best and 
most permanent of what man has done. More- 
over, it is the work of a Christian. The Apostle 
is writing of Christians, primarily of teachers and 
preachers and so inclusive of all believers. He is 
indeed one whose real talent is little used if not 
altogether hidden, whose true light is flickering 
under the bushel, whose tree produces more 
foliage than fruit, whose life is not consecrated; 
but still he is a Christian, a genuine child of 
God, and doubtless the representative of many be- 


lievers to-day. But notwithstanding it is work, 
and the work of a Christian, it is yet an earthly 
work: it employs the earthly part of the worker 
— muscle, mind, individuality, influence; uses 
earthly means, materials and methods; is limited 
to earthly objects and attainments. And since 
this is so, the work is worthless to the cause of 
Christ. There stands the fig-tree in the vineyard 
with every incentive to fruit-bearing — life, soil, 
culture, air, sunshine, shower; but we come to it 
and find nothing but leaves: does it fulfil its true 
mission? Yonder is the candle, several inches in 
length, already lighted, adapted to the candle- 
stick, with light-giving power sufficient for a room- 
ful of people; but instead of flaming from the 
candlestick it is overcapped by the bushel meas- 
ure or set underneath the curtained bed. Of 
what real value is its light? Alas, how many in 
the hive of humanity are drones, how many in the 
nation are but parasites on the body politic, 
how many in the churches are hardly worth the 
ink required to write their names upon the church 
register! Work indeed, but the work of balancing 
straws, of blowing bubbles, of chasing butterflies; 
the work of a good man but absolutely valueless 
to man, to the brotherhood, and to God. 

But whatever the character of the work, it must 
and will be tested. Many of these tests are ap- 
plied during our earthly existence. For one thing 
time itself is a test; an error may rise and reign 
for awhile, but wait — will it stand the test of 
time? A book appears, catches the popular mind 
and is the rage of the hour; will it survive a de- 
cade, or a twelve-month? Other tests are found 


in the hard experiences of life which reveal the 
excellencies or the deficiencies in our work as the 
thundering locomotive tests the bridge over which 
it speeds or the beating surf tries the strength of 
the bowlder disputing the sovereignty of the sea. 
Yes, we have these and many other tests in this 
life; and before them how many fail! Wrecked 
before they reach open sea, fallen as trees in the 
path of the hurricane, devoured like grasshoppers 
in the sweeping prairie fires! And if through 
these trying scenes the fittest of our work survive 
it must come to the time of testing when the living 
spirit bids farewell to the body, that awful hour 
when our physical and spiritual partnership is dis- 
solved by the hand of death and the surviving 
partner goes to the Court of the Universe for the 
settlement of its affairs. But the day of all days 
of testing will be the Judgment. 

"That awful day will surely come 
The appointed hour makes haste 
When I must stand before my Judge 
And pass the solemn test." 

All the nations of all the ages will there be gath- 
ered. Upon each soul and the work of each life 
the divine search-light will be turned. From it 
no one can hide beneath over-hanging rocks or 
down-falling mountains. We have our daily and 
weekly and monthly examinations here when our 
knowledge and ignorance, our strength and weak- 
ness, are manifested; then we shall stand our final 
examination before the Judge of all the earth. 
God help us to stand it well! 

It is intimated by the apostle, in figure if not 
in fact, that fire will be the great agency for the 


testing of our character and work. That there 
shall be literal elemental fire in connection with 
the consummation of the age is repeatedly fore- 
told. While we cannot speculate here, it does not 
seem likely that any man's work shall be actually 
subjected to the ordeal of physical flame. No, 
there is another fire of which that familiar to us is 
but a shadow, the glimmer of prophecy. Before 
it only the real and the genuine can stand, just 
as in Corinth the granite temple stood when the 
thatched hut was eaten up by the flames. Is it 
too much to say that on that great revealing day 
of the Lord the fire of testing will be the flame of 
the divine presence? Such a fire as that which in 
the burning bush caused the man of God to stand 
with bare head and feet unsandaled on holy 
ground; such a fire as that which in these same 
mountains of Sinai swept through the ravine in 
front of Elijah's cave and made the desert prophet 
cover his face with his mantle; such a fire as 
that which shone upon Saul at his conversion leav- 
ing him for days without sight; such a fire as the 
apocalyptic seer from his lonely isle saw flaming 
at the end of the age around the throne of judg- 
ment and of glory. It was before this veiled fire, 
you might say painted fire, in the person of the 
physical Christ that even Peter the loyal and de- 
vout apostle on one occasion winced as he cried: 
"Depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord!" 
And if a good man, conscious of some wrong in 
himself and of absolute holiness in his Lord thus 
felt when both were in the flesh and were mani- 
fest friends, what must it be when our naked souls 
stand there at judgment known through and 


through by Him who looks upon them, when the 
aggregate of our life-work is then thrust into the 
flame of final testing! Sometimes we tremble be- 
fore the opinion of men, shrinking from the un- 
friendly eye, cowering before the expected lash of 
criticism; what shall it be when we come under 
that piercing Eye which will see to the center and 
scan the contents of our every soul! How quickly 
that flame will detect and devour the stubble and 
hay of our life, and how surely in its light may 
the really good be recognized and rewarded! . 

Yes, the wood and hay and stubble of life are 
to be finally devoured; they had a mission and a 
purpose, but it was only temporal and temporary, 
and he who places it upon the one foundation 
need not expect it to remain. Only the gold and 
silver and precious stone are to endure. The re- 
finer's fire rids only of the dross; the pure metal 
abides. And so whatever we have done that is of 
value, that will stand. Mind you, it is not the 
man but his work that we are considering; and 
only that part of his work will be burned up 
which is not worth anything to the Master. It 
may be that some on that final day will stand the 
test as the Hebrews in the fiery furnace; but like- 
ly there will be many more whose work shall be 
destroyed; while many shall find that some of 
their work has been transitory and some of it per- 
manent. But whatever the result, it will be de- 
cisive and final. There will be no rebuilding here. 
Never again will the foundation be presented for 
the superstructure of our lives. If we have built 
unwisely in manner or in material, we shall never 
have opportunity to rectify it. The soul may be 
saved forever, but the life is gone forever! 


The Worker Saved 

Yes, the worker is to be saved, for he is here 
represented as a real Christian. Examine his 
heart and you will find repentance — he has gotten 
off the shifting sand; and you will find faith — he 
has gotten on the Solid Rock. Examine his life 
and you will find at least a partial obedience; 
some good work he has done, however small, ir- 
regular, half-hearted. And so not because of 
works but through grace he will enter heaven. 
And when he reaches that radiant shore his enjoy- 
ment will be full, but his capacity will not be 
what it would have been. He comes to that lim- 
itless ocean of blis3 for a thimbleful when he 
should have come for a barrelful; the ocean can 
fill one as readily as the other. 

But the point here is that his salvation in heav- 
en is hardly more than a bare escape from hell. 
We are reminded of the escape of Lot from the 
city of Sodom: thither he had gone in search of 
wealth; there he had won money and fame, built 
his home and reared his family, spent the strength 
of his manhood and the best years of his life- 
one day the divine decree goes forth that the 
wicked cities of the plain must be burnt; Lot is 
warned, he hesitates, his family falters, at last 
they are almost literally dragged out of the doom- 
ed city; and three of them hardly reach the safe 
slopes of the surrounding hills when the fires of 
justice fall upon the cities and utterly devour 
them. The home and earnings and work and 
friends of all these years shorn away with one 
stroke; yonder he lies himself penniless and his 
daughters motherless — the three barely outside 


the circle of flame, their work swept away! "He 
himself shall be saved, yet so as by fire." 

Nearer still we may come to the picture in the 
mind of the Apostle, and it has been duplicated 
many times over in our own day and land. Here 
is the builder of a home: his bride he has brought 
to their own roof-tree; together they have wrought 
for its embellishment and utility — floor and wall 
and ceiling and passage and piazza and lawn and 
premises; here their children have gathered about 
their knees; here they have entertained their 
friends; here their energies center and here their 
heart-strings are interwoven; beautiful home and 
thrice happy occupants. But one night when all 
was quiet without and all were slumbering within, 
wild coals burst into flame and began creeping, 
burglar-like, from room to room till the stifling 
smoke and lurid light and fervent flames rouse 
the sleeping family. From their beds to the win- 
dows, and they leap for their lives from under the 
falling roof and through the flying sparks. A bare 
escape; every member of the family saved, but 
that beautiful home reduced to an ash-heap ! Such 
is the apostolic picture of the man who is "saved 
a3 by fire." 

We are reminded, finally, that though he is 
saved he yet suffers loss. He loses, first of all and 
manifestly, all that he has done, all that he has ac- 
cumulated, that is earthly and material. No mat- 
ter at what pains he has been or how much wis- 
dom he has shown or how much fame among his 
fellows his deeds have brought him, he loses them 
at last; he lies down and dies and his work van- 
ishes like frost-crystals in the sunlight. Time and 


opportunity and the highest usefulness, all that 
he could have been, all that he could have done, 
all lost, forever lost. Lost the development he 
ought to have experienced; lost the capacity for 
larger things. And in the day of reward for deeds 
done in the body, he misses much of the reward. 
The salvation is free, but the reward may be won; 
the first comes to us through divine grace, the 
other as the result of our fidelity. So the man who 
is "saved as by fire" has really labored in vain; his 
work is not abiding and must be burnt; he can- 
not be recognized fully as a good workman, a 
faithful servant, capacitated for larger responsibil- 
ities. And so he not only suffers loss as to this 
life, but also comes short of the largest and best 
in the life to come. And while no one can meas- 
ure the grace that saves him despite the worthless- 
ness of his work, who can estimate his loss? 

Beloved, learn the lesson of this phrase and ap- 
ply it instantly and insistently in your lives. The 
time of the final testing has not yet come. The 
sun is still shining upon you and perhaps — per- 
haps — the day is not far spent. It is high time 
to awake out of sleep, to cease dilly-dallying with 
transient trivialities, and to work on with fidelity 
the remainder of life's day. 

The one foundation has been laid, even Jesus 
Christ, and we are builders thereupon. With 
what materials have we built, and are building? 
Gold or stubble: which in the past? Gold or stub- 
ble: which in the future? 

The real test of our work is permanence. It 
may look well now, it may be superior to others 
around it, it may stir our souls with pride to con- 


template it; but will it stand? When the great 
fire test comes consuming the wood, hay and stub- 
ble, revealing the gold, silver and precious stone 
— will it stand? 

We can and should do permanent work. We 
can put our dollars where no flames can destroy 
them. Here are millions about us who will file 
past the Judgment throne to heaven or to hell; 
abundance of materials immortal upon which to 
work. And then this soul of ours — this immor- 
tal self, not farm, or house, or business, goes up 
to God; see that it is prepared! Do the work that 
is permanent. God is your Helper and you can 
leave memorials lasting as eternity. 

Oh, let us not be content with a bare escape 
from the flames of woe when divine grace offers 
us "an abundant entrance" into the realms of 
bliss! Let us be faithful, faithful unto death, 
and we shall hear the Master say: "Well done, 
good and faithful servant!" 

A word more. If some on the true foundation 
thus escape by fire, what becomes of those on a 
false foundation? "If the righteous scarcely be 
saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner ap- 
pear?" Stand a moment by that awful precipice 
and as you shrink back, fly to the arms of Jesus 
who is mighty to save, consecrate your all to Him, 
live the permanent life here, and you shall live the 
infinitely happy life hereafter. 



Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many ; and unto 
them that look for Him shall He appear the second time, with- 
out sin, unto salvation.— Hebrews 9 : 28 


Our Lord is spoken of as having performed a 
final work, as performing a continuous work, and 
to perform a consummating work. The first was 
wrought once for all at Calvary in far Judea; the 
second is now going on at the right hand of the 
Father; the last is to be effected in the day of 
Final Account. The divine accomplishment in 
the past was atonement; that of the present is 
intercession; that of the future will be judgment. 
So if Christ be reckoned as bridging the chasm 
separating man from God and earth from heaven, 
we must regard the cross as the tower on the time- 
shore and the judgment throne as the tower on 
the eternity-shore while the intervening distance 
is spanned by the unfailing mediation of the ever 
living and reigning Redeemer. Thus a sure high- 
way is provided for us from the flesh and earth 
and time to the heaven of the happy and to the 
bosom of God. 

The writer to the Hebrews deals largely with 
this intermediate work, the ministry of interces- 
sion, so beautifully typified in the Jewish priest- 
hood. But the divine High Priest instead of 
making a sacrifice, Himself became the sacrifice; 
instead of appearing at stated periods, He appear- 
ed once for all; instead of entering into the holy 
places that are human, He has gone "into heaven 
itself, now to apepar in the presence of God for 
us"; and one day will lay aside His priestly attire 
to ascend the throne of judgment. 

And so from the sublime viewpoint of the in- 
terceding Christ the sacred penman turns our 


vision backward to the dying Son of God and for- 
ward to the triumphant Son of Man. "Christ 
was once offered to bear the sins of many; and 
unto them that look for him shall He appear the 
second time without sin unto salvation." Here, 
then, we have the main lesson of our Lord's first 
coming and the sure promise of His second com- 
ing, the one laying the foundation and the other 
placing the capstone of the structure of our sal- 

The Meaning of the Cross. 

In the year thirty of our era at Jerusalem in 
the Roman province of Judea Jesus of Nazareth 
was crucified. After six arraignments within 
about as many hours before both the Jewish and 
Roman authorities He was sentenced to immediate 
death by Governor Pilate at the instigation and 
insistence of the Jews. At 9 o'clock on that Fri- 
day morning in the early spring the sentence was 
carried out: Jesus was nailed, hands and feet, to 
a Roman cross and uplifted between two robbers. 
Six dreadful hours with their agony and taunt 
and darkness and earthquake and outcry and 
heart-break — and "he gave up the ghost." The 
dead body of the innocent Nazarene was taken 
down from the cross and ere the sun had set, was 
laid away in the new tomb of Joseph of Arima- 

Is it not strange that the central cross on that 
occasion should be so magnified in its proportions 
and so potent in its influence? By that sign Con- 
stantine conquered. It was basic in the work of 
the Great Reformers in Italy, Germany, Great 
Britain, and America. And to-day it not only 


dominates all Christendom, but is rapidly invad- 
ing all heathendom. Led by a Unitarian hymn- 
ologist, millions the world over are taking up the 

"In the cross of Christ I glory, 

Towering o'er the wrecks of time; 
All the light of sacred story 

Gathers round its head sublime." 

Yes, the cross is the focal point of all history 
and we are told how it came to be so. First of 
all, He who suffered on that cross was the Christ, 
both Son of Man and Son of God. His followers 
found Him the one altogether lovely. His enemies 
must perjure themselves in order to formulate a 
charge against Him. His judges searched His 
record and beheld in Him no guile. His execu- 
tioner saw Him die and he declared: "Truly this 
man was the Son of God!" To Him gave all the 
prophets witness not only declaring that He would 
come but also showing how He must suffer. And 
His divine character and mission stand vindicated 
in the light of subsequent history. Greater than 
Moses of the Jews or Caesar of the Romans or 
Napoleon of the French or Washington of the 
Americans was the Christ of the cross; greater in 
His character, greater in His suffering, and great- 
er in His work, because He was the Christ of God. 

Observe also that the cross was but the altar 
of offering: "Christ was offered." His death, 
therefore, was not merely an execution; it was 
also and especially a sacrifice. The cross was the 
way that man's hate devised to get rid of Him; 
but it was the way also in which divine love ex- 
pressed itself. The far-seeing Baptist sounded on 


the banks of the Jordan the key-note of Christ's 
mission: "Behold the Lamb of God!" Faintly 
was the offering typified upon Moriah in the long 
ago when Abraham bound Isaac, laid him upon 
the altar, and raised his knife to slay the child of 
promise. Father and son bowed before the di- 
vine will and each was ready to do his part. So 
the death of Christ was a voluntary offering. Hear 
again "the Golden-Text of the Bible" and know 
the love of the Father: "God so loved the world 
that He gave His only begotten Son that whoso- 
ever believeth in Him should not perish but have 
everlasting life." And Paul reminds us that the 
offering was equally voluntary on the part of 
"our Saviour Jesus Christ who gave Himself for 
us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, 
and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous 
of good works." 

The offering of the Lamb of God was effected 
once for all. This indeed seems to be the point 
just here in the writer's mind. The olden altars 
had to be kept in constant repair, fresh fountains 
of atoning blood opened day after day, and an un- 
ending line of victims driven forward into the 
sacrificial fires. But that order is done away; 
the types are of no more service when the Anti- 
type appears. Let the candles be put out when 
the great Sun begins to shine. By one act in one 
man sin entered the world; by one sacrifice in the 
God-man may sin be routed from the world. The 
one offering is sufficient also because of the pres- 
ent intercessory work of Christ; once He died and 
now He ever lives to intercede. Moreover, no 
other offering was, is, or will be necessary be- 


cause of Christ's relation to every individual who 
is once to die and once to appear at judgment. 
Yea, there is the one sacrifice and it will never be 
repeated. Look for the divine Victim nowhere 
else. To no other cross will He be nailed, and 
in no other attitude will He appear as the world's 
Saviour. Once, once only, and once for all was 
the divine offering made. 

Important as is our knowledge of the facts that 
it was the Son of God who was crucified, that His 
death was an offering, and that it was once for 
all, something of supreme interest yet remains: 
What was the purpose and the meaning of that 
offering? Read again the lines of the sacred 
writer: "Christ was once offered to bear sins." 
Ah, here is the whole secret of that awful scene. 
Without it the offering would never have been 
at all; without it, that death would not have been 
an offering; without it, the Christ would never, 
could never, have gone to the cross. But when 
we discover in the dying Jesus the world's great 
Sin-bearer, we touch the subtlest chords of truth 
and wake a whole chorus of Scripture evangels. 
Hear Isaiah in his night watch in the olden time 
say of the Redeemer: "He bare the sin of many." 
And just as the light of the new dispensation was 
breaking we hear the strong voice shouting in the 
wilderness: "Behold the Lamb of God which tak- 
eth away the sin of the world!" It was around the 
first communion table that the Lord Himself when 
He passed to His disciples the poured-out wine 
declared: "This is my blood of the New Testa- 
ment, which is shed for many for the remission of 
sins." In His great resurrection chapter Paul can- 


not lose sight of the cross, and so be stresses as 
the gospel fundamental "that Christ died for our 
sins according to the Scriptures." This was also 
the gospel of Peter who, at first fickle as a chang- 
ing April sky, but at last as true to the cross as 
the needle to the Pole, wrote of the suffering 
Christ, "who His own self bare our sins in His own 
body on the tree." And again he says: "Christ 
also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the 
unjust, that He might bring us to God." The be- 
loved disciple with true insight into the character 
and mission of his Master wrote in his closing 
days: "We know that He was manifested to take 
away our sins; and in Him is no sin." There can 
be no mistake about it. In His death Jesus took 
upon Himself the guilt of man. Think of Him, 
the pure, the innocent, the divine, under that aw- 
ful load! The least of His suffering was the cru- 
cifixion agony which with diabolical deliberation 
twisted the bars of the body till the imprisoned 
spirit was set free. Intenser far was the agony 
of loneliness on the part of God from whom He 
came and of hissing rejection on the part of man 
for whom He came. Yea, He who ruled in the 
highest heaven descended to the very pit, drank 
to its dregs the bitterest cup of sin's penalty, en- 
dured the desertion of God, the persecution of 
man, the hostility of demons — all that He might 
bear our sins. Incomparable sacrifice! Wonder- 
ful, matchless, inexhaustible love! 

We are reminded, further, that "Christ was 
once offered to bear the sins of many." The sac- 
rifice of Christ, then, does not include all men 
unconditionally. So when Paul says of God our 


Saviour "who will have all men to be saved, and 
to come unto the knowledge of the truth," and 
when Peter says of the long-suffering Lord "not 
willing that any should perish but that all should 
come to repentance," we understand that it is not 
the divine decree but the divine desire that all 
men be saved. And when Paul writes Titus that 
"the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath 
appeared to all men," we understand that the 
grace of God bringeth to all men salvation in offer 
but not always in effect. Another verse from 
Paul happily combines the two ideas: " . . . . We 
trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all 
men, specially of those that believe"; that is, the 
sacrifice of Christ is sufficient for the saving of all 
but it is efficient only in the saving of those who 
believe. Hence Jesus declared as to His own mis- 
sion: "The Son of Man came to give 

His life a ransom for many." And as to the ul- 
timate ingathering of the saved He also predicted 
(Matt. 8:11): "Many shall come from the east 
and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and 
Isaac, and Jacob, in the Kingdom of Heaven." 
Paul contrasting Adam and Christ, says: "If 
through the offense of one many be dead, much 
more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, 
which is by one man Jesus Christ, hath abounded 
unto many." From these passages some have in- 
ferred that the many, the majority, will eventually 
be saved and that the lost will be no greater per- 
centage of total humanity than the convicts are 
to the population of a civilized and righteous na- 
tion. However that may be, the number of the 
saved is described as many, not as all. And only 


those who accept Christ can be classed with the 

Oh, then, how supremely important that men 
should turn from their sins to their Saviour. Look 
upon the atoning cross, see in Him who hung there 
your Redeemer, consecrate yourself and your all 
to Him, and go forth as a naming evangel of His 
glorious gospel. Who can or will refuse from his 
heart to join in the universal Christian chorus: 

"In the cross, in the cross, 
Be my glory ever, 
Till my raptured soul shall find, 
Rest beyond the river." 

The Promise of Return. 

There is yet another vision that claims our at- 
tention; it is the complement of that we have 
been considering. "Unto them that look for Him 
shall He appear the second time, without sin, unto 

Mark the fact that He who came and once for 
all went to His cross will come again to ascend 
His throne. Among the most precious of our 
Lord's utterances, made on the eve of the be- 
trayal and the crucifixion, are the words: "I will 
come again and receive you unto myself; that 
where I am, there ye may be also." And when* 
the cross bare and the sepulcher empty, the dis- 
ciples had re-assembled around their risen Lord^ 
how eagerly and regretfully their eyes followed 
Him upward from Olivet whence He ascended! 
But to the upward-gazing throng the two men iri 
white apparel declared: "This same Jesus which 
is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come 
in like manner as ye have seen Him go into 


heaven." In all the Pauline writings there is no 
picture more beautiful and no prophecy more vivid 
than that of the returning Lord who "Himself 
shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the 
voice of the archangel and with the trump of 
God." And in the bosom of the believer there is 
no keener anticipation, no hope more blessed than 
that of "the glorious appearing of the great God 
and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Jesus is coming 
again. He may come at any time; He will come 

And when He comes again it will be "without 
sin" — apart from sin, above sin. When He came 
before no guile was found in Him but it was put 
upon Him; He did no sin and yet He bore all sin; 
He was guilty of no wrong and still He was 
charged with the guilt of all wrong, And see 
where it led Him! Into the flesh that fetters and 
rots; along a path of labor and obscurity; under 
the ridicule and slander of His people; up to a 
cross of suffering and shame; down into a grave 
of death and disgrace! But when He comes again, 
divinity will be unfettered and sin's bearer will be 
sin's conqueror. Hear the resounding trump and 
the heavenly shout; see the glorious King with 
His angelic retinue; feel the shock of His down- 
coming; and know that the Judge of all the earth 
is at hand! No sin in Him, no sin upon Him, no 
sin about Him; holy in character, infinite in per- 
fection, glorious in appearance! Thus the Sa- 
viour of men from sin will come again "without 

Moreover, His appearance will be pre-eminently 
to those that look for Him. We are not to infer 


that only the vigilant shall behold Him in that 
day, for we are told that every eye shall see Him, 
every tongue confess and every knee bow before 
Him. But to the expectant His appearance will 
be the fulfilment of hope, the realization of a 
heart-longing. When the bridegroom came the 
foolish virgins as well as the wise were there, 
but how much more did His appearance mean to 
the wise than to the foolish! When the door was 
shut the wise were safely within and the foolish 
were irrecoverably without. And when the Lord 
comes again both Paul and Nero will see Him, 
but that coming will mean infinitely less to the 
monarch than to the Apostle who languishing in 
the dungeon wrote: "There is laid up for me a 
crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the right- 
eous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to 
me only, but unto all them also that love his ap- 
pearing." So the great difference will be not in 
the fact of His appearance but in its purpose. All 
shall see Him; but some, as the wrathful Judge, 
and others, as the loving Saviour. 

And this leads, finally, to the great object of 
our Lord's Second Coming: "Unto them that 
look for Him shall He appear the second time, 
without sin, unto salvation." Yes, it is to finally 
and forever complete the salvation of His people. 
The salvation that comes to us in the flesh and 
in time is a salvation of soul, but not of body. 
Moreover, the soul here is in an atmosphere of 
sin, it is liable to contamination, its growth is 
hindered, its powers are not free to fulfil their 
highest mission. And when death releases the 
saved soul into the unseen spirit world, there is 


consciousness, happiness, perfection, but not com- 
pletion. This is not effected till the Lord comes 
again. By His first coming He averted the soul's 
death penalty; by His second coming He will over- 
come the body's death penalty. So in that final 
day the body shall be called out of its dust and 
the soul out of paradise, both reunited in abso- 
lute harmony and adapted to the ultimate heaven. 
Then there shall be complete freedom from the 
power of sin and the dominion of Satan, Then 
the saint, redeemed in every part, shall enter heav- 
en with its infinite possibilities of development. 
Chief of all and inclusive of all, this final salvation 
means presence with the Lord Himself visibly and 
audibly and forever. Is not the very thought of 
that ultimate bliss over-mastering? If we can 
but bear the light of a taper now and here, what 
must it be to stand in that matchless effulgence, 
surpassing the light of cloudless noonday, dazzling 
away every trace of darkness from the city of God! 
If the glimpses we get of the heavenly mansions 
so stir our pulses to faster, wilder beats, what 
must it be when the body incorruptible enters the 
everlasting habitations! Oh, fear not, then, the 
lightning-bolt blasting out a highway for His 
descent. For His coming will be "unto salva- 

"For Christ was once offered to bear the sins 
of many; and unto them that look for Him shall 
He appear the second time, without sin, unto sal- 


The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the 
waters cover the sea.— Isaiah 11 : 9 



In sublimity of thought, in darkness of environ- 
ment, and in radiance of outlook the prophecies 
and the ministry of Isaiah are without a parallel. 
For lofty ideas and beautiful diction, for point 
and strength and force, these pages are unsur- 
passed in all the field of human literature. And 
yet this man of grand powers and great soul lived 
and wrought and wept and went down in the 
gathering shadows which brought on the long 
night of Israel's captivity. Four of the five kings 
of Judah under whom he prophesied were bad 
men. The whole nation from monarch to shep- 
herd boy was sinking. The prophet saw it, raised 
his voice and threw his strength against it, but 
all without lasting avail. He saw the Assyrian 
heel crush the northern kingdom and neighboring 
powers. He felt the structure of Judah's inde- 
pendence tottering to its fate. And though his 
nature was mild and tender, yet his ministry must 
be one of reproof and warning; his work was not 
to be like the dew, as he would have preferred, 
but like the thunderstorm. But his people would 
not in the mass be benefited; they followed crit- 
icism with persecution; and finally, if tradition 
be correct, this sublimest of the prophets met a 
most terrible martyrdom, being sawn asunder in 
a hollow tree by order of Manasseh. 

And yet despite the darkness surrounding and 
impending, personally and politically, this great 
man looked onward to a better day. The sky 
seemed completely overcast with cloud, dark and 
impenetrable, but his eyes detected a pool of the 


blue heaven above. Yonder on the horizon, far 
across these weary wastes of desert, he could see a 
patch of green, an oasis with palms and fountains 
for future generations. The thick darkness of 
the present was relieved by the faint glimmer of 
a dawn which he should himself never see. No 
pessimist was he, though the complexion of his 
ministry seemed to warrant the charge; he was 
the optimist of optimists. With all his soul he 
believed that the best is yet to be. The coming 
day should be infinitely brighter than the waning 
day. Better than the past with an Eden spark- 
ling on its brow; better than the by-gone with 
Abraham and Moses and David and Solomon; bet- 
ter than what is or has been shall be. 

Yes, the best is yet to be. And in these words 
the prophet tells us the best of the best: "The 
earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord 
as the waters cover the sea." Here is the gold of 
the golden age. At last the rainbow of hope is 
stationary and we can grasp the treasure at its 
base or mount up its glorious arch. What great- 
er riches in all the wide universe through all the 
eternities than "the knowledge of the Lord"? And 
what brighter consummation awaits the earth 
than that this knowledge shall oversweep and en- 
velop it "as the waters cover the sea"? 

Here then we have the prophet's up-look to Je- 
hovah, the center, source, and subject of highest 
knowledge; and then his outlook upon the earth 
filled, interpenetrated, dominated, uplifted by this 
supreme knowledge out of its long night into the 
perpetual day. 


The Knowledge of the Lord. 

No one could have felt more keenly than our 
prophet the widespread and lamentable ignorance 
regarding the Lord. Had He not with a strong 
hand led them out of Egypt, through the wilder- 
ness, into Canaan? Was not all their glory be- 
stowed by Him, their every deliverance the inter- 
position of His hand? Yet they had forgotten; 
they were unthinking and ignorant. So to-day 
the Lord is half known, misknown, unknown. 

Is it not strange that the Maker of worlds, Au- 
thor of life, Giver of every good, should be un- 
known? And yet this is vastly true among intelli- 
gent and illiterate in lands professedly Christian 
and avowedly heathen. It was not among bar- 
barians but among Athenians that the altar stood 
with the inscription, "To the Unknown God." 
They had their Athene and Zeus and a hundred 
othjr deities; they erected altars to all national 
deities so that no stranger in their streets need 
worship a strange god; yet Jehovah above all was 
unknown! Look about you and abroad at this 
good hour: uncounted millions, ignorant of the 
Most High, bowing by a tree that could be up- 
rooted by a storm or before an idol that can be 
carried in the pocket! And in our own land ablaze 
with Christian civilization see the masses follow 
the arteries of traffic and crowd our great thor- 
oughfares — multitudes bowing as devotedly as the 
ancients to Mammon and Mars and Venus and 
Bacchus and all the long list of strange gods. 
Alas, alas, that the Lord of lords should be un- 


And it is almost as bad that He should be mis- 
known. Did not Saul of Tarsus think he was do- 
ing God a service when he was persecuting saints 
with all his power even to distant cities? With 
all his theological knowledge and the sincerity of 
his nature, he was mistaken about the divine char- 
acter and unfilled with divine knowledge; hence 
his fearful record as high-handed persecutor of 
believers. You remember also that when on tur- 
bulent Gennesareth the disciples with their oars 
were battling with the storm Jesus came walking 
on the water, they did not recognize Him and so 
were affrighted as by an apparition. How much 
of agitation we would save ourselves and how 
many mistakes we could evade if only we had true 
knowledge of the Lord! It is sad indeed that the 
Lord is so often misknown. 

A step higher, but still far below the desired 
summit, and we find the Lord half known. Some 
of His character, some of His dealings, some of 
His commands grasped in part; "but even that 
knowledge, limited as it is, is yet more extensive 
than intensive. The disciples walked with the 
risen Lord on the way to Emmaus, invited Him 
to partake of their hospitality, and took their 
seats for the evening meal without recognizing 
Him; surely they thought they knew their Master, 
but it was only a half knowledge. And so in the 
case of Thomas, one of the Twelve, doubter of his 
brethren's word and of his Saviour's power; not 
until within sealed doors the Lord Himself ap- 
peared with nail prints and living voice did 
Thomas really know Him and cry, "My Lord and 
my God!" Oh, that the half-knowing, the mis- 


knowing, and the unknowing could rise out of 
their ignorance to a full knowledge of the truth 
and of God! 

And it is just this which is contemplated by the 
prophet here in his prediction of "the knowledge 
of the Lord." In its most elementary form this 
knowledge of the Lord is a knowing about the 
Lord. Not only the fact of His existence and His 
name; but also His works and His character. If 
we revel in the pages of history with its long 
line of heroes and heroines, if we search the an- 
nals of State and Nation and glory in the good 
and great who have appeared among us, much 
more should we know of Him who is infinitely 
higher and greater and holier than all. We can 
but appreciate the sentiment of the poor heathen 
who, after hearing the Gospel, said to the mission- 
ary: "Why did you not come before?" Why, in- 
deed, should any be left without knowledge of 
God in this world of ours so bound together by 
electric wires and fettered by bands of commerce 
on sea and land? Let the divine Name fly round 
the sphere; let the divine Book lie open upon the 
altar of every home; let all men know that God is 
and that He is God! 

Again, this "knowledge of the Lord" means not 
merely knowing about the Lord, but knowing the 
Lord Himself. He is not only above men, but 
with them; He is universal monarch indeed, but 
He is everybody's friend. Too few in all the past 
have risen to the level of this intimate knowledge 
of Jehovah, but those few have been star figures 
in the history of the good. There was Enoch the 
great ante-diluvian who walked with God; Abra- 


ham the man of faith and the friend of God; 
Moses who talked with God amid Sinai's fire; Da- 
vid who reigned as the man after God's own heart; 
Elijah who heard the still small voice; Daniel who 
kept his window open toward Jerusalem; John 
who lay on the bosom of his Lord ; Paul who yield- 
ed his stubborn will to Jesus outside the gates of 
Damascus. Think of a time when all men shall 
thus know the Lord — lifted from wallowing in the 
mire of carnal society to serene companionship 
with the God of heaven and earth! Not that man 
can ever know God fully, for only God can compre- 
hend God; we need not breathe all the atmosphere 
in order to live, and so our knowledge of God need 
not be infinite and absolute in order to fill out 
the prophet's ideal. But universal man is to know 
God as friend knows friend, only more clearly, 
more unselfishly, more perfectly; to not only rec- 
ognize Him but to recognize Him with love as the 
Giver of every blessing that comes, with faith as 
Saviour from all sin, with obedience as the Lord 
of our lives exalting and purifying them, with hope 
as ultimate visible associate in eternity to come. 
How much better it is to know than to know 
about! We younger men know about Robert E. 
Lee as one of the brightest figures of our South- 
ern history, of universal history; but we have 
never personally known that great chieftan — never 
felt the magnetic touch of his hand, the flash of 
his eye, the charm of his voice, the thrill of his 
living personality. And if contact with the great 
of earth so stir and stimulate, to what height may 
we not be borne by loving and perpetual acquaint- 
ance with Jehovah the infinite! To this altitude 


is to rise not only a man now and then, but uni- 
versal man in the glorious after-awhile. 

Once more: "The knowledge of the Lord" 
means having the knowledge of the Lord, knowing 
the Lord's knowledge. This follows knowing the 
Lord Himself. Through all of these stages the 
disciples of Jesus passed: first they, through the 
testimony of John and others, knew about the 
Lord; then by loving association for years they 
knew the Lord; and so they came into possession 
of the Lord's knowledge. What was the great 
need of Israel when they had gone forth from 
the banks of the Nile? "The knowledge of the 
Lord." And not until the man of God had re- 
ceived it from the hands of God, given it to the 
elders of Israel, and penned it for future genera- 
tions could the tribes hope to erect a national edi- 
fice. What the world needs is the truth of God; 
needs it more than all the wealth of the mines, 
the fruit of the field, or the proverbial cattle on a 
thousand hills. The truth as it is in the Book 
of revelation — let the theologian expound it; the 
truth as it is in the book of Nature — let the scien- 
tist explore and declare it. Let the lover of wis- 
dom as he wanders through the mazes of philo- 
sophic thought repeat the sentiment of Kepler: "I 
think Thy thoughts after Thee, O God!" Or like 
Agassiz with his students on a field tour who said: 
"Gentlemen, before we study these rocks, let us 
pray to the God who made them." Or like Tenny- 
son who as he wrote his sublime strains lifted 
heart and voice in the frequent prayer: "O, Thou 
Infinite! Amen!" Ah, those who have brought 
us the richest nuggets of truth have simply come 


with occasional dust-grains from the immeasur- 
able continent of divine knowledge. What must 
it be when this knowledge is all-pervasive? 

Surely this is the highest knowledge. If to 
know man with all his complexities and possibil- 
ities, with his sympathy and stimulus, is more than 
to know the infinitesimal amoeba, the knowledge 
of God is absolutely without a rival and unap- 
proachable. It brings within finite compass a 
fragment of the infinite; it gives the transient a 
hold on the eternal. And certainly it is the most 
useful knowledge; we can do more with it than 
with anything else. In fact, it is the key to all 
knowledge; all else is a peep in at the window — 
this alone flings open the door. The savage 
knows that the fire of the storm-cloud will strike 
down a forest monarch; an Edison knows that the 
same force can drive onward the wheels of civiliza- 
tion. The one is a picture of knowledge solitary; 
the other of knowledge applied, useful, connect- 
ed with the divine. And then such a knowl- 
edge is transforming; it is more than changing a 
ragged rustic into a philosopher or statesman, 
Such a change was wrought in Saul, possibly a 
graduate of the University of Tarsus, and certain- 
ly of Gamaliel's seminary at Jerusalem. He knew 
of God, but he knew not God; here he met Jesus 
in light out-dazzling the noon-day, and this knowl- 
edge of the Lord fired his heart to a holy evangel- 
ism that made him the benefactor of every age. 
Wonderful knowledge, the highest, the most use- 
ful, transforming, uplifting — "the knowledge of 
the Lord." 


The Filling of the Earth. 

No brighter future for the earth could the pen 
of even Isaiah predict than that the knowledge of 
the Lord should be world-embracing. And see 
the beautiful figure in which he conveys its uni- 
versality: "As the waters cover the sea." 

Mark, first of all, a hidden deficiency! Have 
you ever thought while afloat upon the heaving 
bosom of old ocean of what a world lies beneath 
its waves? Suppose all of its waters were with- 
drawn and the sea-basin wiped dry: leagues of 
sand, peaks of jagged rock, cavernous depths, un- 
relieved stretches of barren mountain and valley, 
— a vast and veritable Sahara! If as Dr. Van 
Dyke says in his charming "Little Rivers" a dry 
river-bed is a scar upon the face of Nature, what 
would the dry ocean-bed be? As the great waters 
rise and surge far above the sea-basin, so the 
knowledge of the Lord shall over-sweep and hide 
from sight in that future day all the imperfections 
and corruption and wickedness of the earth. 

Moreover, the sea-waters impress with their 
grand sufficiency: enough in quantity to fill up the 
deepest fissures of the earth, to chase the fiords far 
inland, to hold in its grasp three-quarters of the 
world; immeasurable force hurled ceaselessly and 
remorselessly upon every inch of shore-line; on 
whose bosom our mightiest merchant marine is 
but a chaff-petal, our greatest steamship lines like 
a spider's thread over a rivulet, our most deathful 
naval battles merely the tussle of microscopic in- 
sects. How great is the ocean and what a glorious 
picture of the grand sufficiency of the knowledge 
of the Lord! 


And finally sparkling as a gem on the bosom of 
the great deep we note a sublime efficiency. It 
is not merely to look at, beautiful and grand as 
it is; within and upon and about its waters a mul- 
titudinous life is generated and maintained. A 
vast store-house for man, the great highway of 
commerce and travel, the principal theater of 
courage and ambition, regulator of climate and 
mother of rain-clouds; truly the sea is a benefac- 
tor and all men are its beneficiaries. And how 
beautifully we have set forth the inexhaustible 
beneficence of the all-pervasive knowledge of the 

Then let every sight or thought of the ocean 
remind us that the knowledge of Jehovah shall 
fill the whole wide world as full as the sea-basin 
is of the sea. 

So at last the world will roll forward into that 
future and final glory. It will be, in part, the 
glory of universal enlightenment. Not that all 
men shall know all things — far from it; but that 
all in the earth redeemed shall have that knowl- 
edge most worth having and that which ultimately 
insures and includes all other, the knowledge of 
Jehovah. Then at last the long, fierce battle with 
Ignorance will be over; every one shall be regis- 
tered as a student in the University of, the Most 
High. Enlightenment divine and enlightenment 
universal! Moreover, a part of that future radi- 
ance will be the glory of universal peace. No 
longer will blood and treasure be poured out like 
water upon the altar of Mars. Swords shall be 
beaten into plowshares and spears into pruning 
hooks. "The war-drum shall throb no longer." 
Battleships and forts and army posts shall be de- 


serted; all the enginery of war shall rust with dis- 
use. All men shall see eye to eye; no discord, no 
conflict, no bitter strife. A brotherhood univer- 
sal; a very kingdom of love; the Prince of Peace 
enthroned and regnant throughout the earth. And 
again, there and then will be the glory of universal 
righteousness. Then love shall fulfil all the law 
and every one will square his life by the Golden 
Rule. No need for judge and jury; there will 
be no differences to settle. No need for jails and 
penitentiaries; there will be no criminals to incar- 
cerate. No need for houses of correction or hos- 
pitals for the insane; all shall walk the path of 
uprightness, all with their powers unclouded, all 
in full mental and moral health. Now we lightly 
say that righteousness resides only in the "Amen 
Corner"; then it shall be a world-wide heritage. 
To-day we think those alone are right who can ut- 
ter the shibboleth of our creed and party; then 
the great waves of goodness will hide small things 
in their magnificent sweep. Then men shall do 
right from love of right, hate wrong because it is 
wrong, and finally appear faultless in the divine 
presence with exceeding joy. 

O friend, to-day look up out of your darkness 
at the sky. Behold the effulgence blazing yonder 
on the horizon. It is not sunset locking up the 
dead day in its sepulcher nor evening star prophet 
of coming darkness; it is day-break, it is sunrise, 
conqueror of the long night, forerunner of the 
endless day. Yes — 

"The morning light is breaking 
The darkness disappears; 
The sons of earth are waking 
To penitential tears." 


Loud rings in our ears the call to action. "Awake 
thou that sleepest! " Is not the longed-for day 
soon to burst upon us — the brightest day earth 
ever knew or can know? Arise and welcome his 
healing beams! Work and pray and watch and 
wait. Send forth the good tidings till every ear 
has heard and every heart has felt and every life 
has been thrilled. Give of your means that you 
may give the Gospel to every creature. Parents, 
surrender your children to the evangelization of 
the earth as Abraham laid upon Moriah's altar 
the child of promise. Young men, young women, 
lose your lives in the winning of disciples among 
the nations and you shall find them again in the 
larger life hereafter. Let everything that hath 
breath and life contribute to the salvation of the 
world and the bringing in of the Golden Age that 
is sure to come. 

"Waft, waft ye winds the story, 
And you, ye waters, roll, 
Till like a sea of glory 

It spreads from pole to pole." 

"For the earth shall be full of the knowledge of 
the Lord as the waters cover the sea." 

Deacidified using the Bookkeeper process. 
Neutralizing agent: Magnesium Oxide 
Treatment Date: April 2006 



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